In the "Need a Break, Build a Snowman" journey, RoboGarden’s hero robot will start getting to know his new environment familiarizing himself with the field setup. Robo begins by planning his fishing and exploration trips. When he finds a group of scientists conducting experiments, he helps them out with his knowledge of mathematics. As Robo assists the scientists in their research, he will learn a lot about math, arrays, and sequence solving. He will also learn better methods of dividing work between himself and his friends.
While Robo is learning important life lessons, students will be introduced to simple movements and the color sensor, which Robo uses to detect the color of the cell. Students will also learn how to use loops to repeat the same action, how to use conditions to make decisions based on each mission's targets, and when to use nested conditions inside loops. At the end, they will learn about functions and how to use them with or without input parameters. This sets the stage for students to construct nested loop structures to create complex repetition logic in their code.
Students gain a lot as they work through RoboGarden’s journeys. To a child, they have played a fun game for a couple of hours, learned a lot about commanding and programming a robot, and become more comfortable adding numbers. Meanwhile, a very important engineering concept has been covered without the student ever realizing it.
We have mentioned that RoboGarden’s programs incorporate NGSS standards. In this case, the MS-ETS1 standard helps a child define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. Engineering design and the MS-LS2-5 standard help the student evaluate competing design solutions while maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Overall, students are expected to improve in the areas of creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making.