A course that explores the principles of engineering by constructing a robot for the Rhode Island FIRST Tech Challenge. Using the Lego MINDSTORM kit, Tetrix kit, and FIRST Tech Challenge guidelines, students work together in a highly team-oriented class to design, build, test, and debug a tournament-ready robot. Throughout the year, student learn about:
• The Engineering Design Process
• The importance of team communication and effectively relating ideas
• The principles of proper design and the importance of testing and modifying that design throughout
• The correct uses of various kit components, including screws and bolts, bushings, channel beams, brackets, motors, servos.
• The proper ways to incorporate and modify other materials to use on the bot or the test field - sheet metal, plexiglas, kydex, zip ties, non-slip pads, PVC pipe, rubber bands, wood, and more
• Recording all ideas in an Engineering Notebook
• Programming the controls for the robot using the RobotC language, including joystick controls, #include statements, loops, functions, variables, and bluetooth linking to the robot microcontrollerh
• Functioning as a team in the tournament environment, strategizing, repairing, and driving the bot during the day-long event
In reality, the secondary goal is to build a robot to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge, and the true purpose is the discovery of the complexities and trade-offs associated with building robots. Field trips to area robotics labs, other teams' workshops, and hardware stores are also incorporated when possible.