Robot Mesh: VEX IQ Robotics Hour of Code Tutorial

Teacher Guide

Introduction

These 11 activities introduce students to Blockly programming for both virtual VEX IQ “Mimic” robots and real VEX IQ robots. The programming is the same, the only difference is whether the robot is online or sitting on the floor.

Grades 4-12, time 1 hour

Option 1: VEX IQ Mimics

Quick link to tutorial: http://www.robotmesh.com/hoc2016

Online robots mimic real VEX robots, and are programmed in Blockly. There is no need to buy a VEX IQ kit. The online mimic robot is pre-built for the students.

Use for:

  1. Schools/groups want to run a programming Hour of Code with robots and do not have enough robots to go around
  2. Schools/groups without VEX IQ robot kits
  3. Outreach activity for VEX IQ Challenge and VEX Robotics Competition teams wanting to host an Hour of Code
  4. Students with little or no previous programming experience

Computer requirements:

  1. Computer with a modern web browser (e.g. Windows 7-10, Mac OS X)
  2. No software or browser extensions to install!
  3. Will work on a Chromebook, but performance may be inadequate on very slow/inexpensive models
  4. Will be easier to create Blockly programs with a mouse than a touch-pad

Option 2: VEX IQ Robots

Quick link to tutorial: http://www.robotmesh.com/hoc2016iq

Real VEX IQ robots programmed in Blockly. Instructions for building the robot are here: http://www.robotmesh.com/hoc2016robot

Use for:

  1. Schools/groups with VEX IQ robot kits
  2. Situations where robot mechatronics is combined with programming. Robots have to be built before activity starts. Construction time is not included in the estimated 1 hour time for completion of the activities.
  3. Outreach activity for VEX IQ Challenge and VEX Robotics Competition teams wanting to host an Hour of Code
  4. Students with little or no previous programming experience

VEX IQ Robot Kits:

Build the required robot chassis with either the VEX IQ Starter Kit with Sensors ($279.99 USA) or the VEX IQ Super Kit ($329.99 USA). FREE shipping is available from Robot Mesh on these kits to the USA. The Super Kit also includes a joystick controller so you can manually drive your robot.

Computer requirements (PC/Mac/Chromebook):

    1. Computer with a modern web browser (Windows 7-10 with Chrome/FireFox, Mac OS X with Chrome, Chromebook or iPad)
    2. To download code to a robot, you need a browser plug-in that will connect the code window with the computer's USB port:
      1. First, use the VEXos Utility from http://www.vexiq.com/firmware to update the firmware on your VEX IQ Brains, sensors and motors, following the directions on the VEX website. Install the VEXos Utility on each PC that you will be using for programming.
      2. Install the Robot Mesh Studio browser plug-in from http://www.robotmesh.com/studio/install.  This is needed to download programs to your robot. You will want to do this for every computer you will be using for programming.
      3. Connect the VEX IQ Brain to your PC/Mac using the USB cable, included with every VEX IQ kit.

iPad requirements:

    1. Required to use the VEX IQ Smart Radio to connect to the iPad, purchased separately: VEX IQ Smart Radio ($12.99 USA)
    2. iPad: Install the Robot Mesh Connect App from the Apple App Store (Requires iOS 9.2 or later) https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/robot-mesh-connect/id1099238240
    3. Update your VEX IQ robots: Using a PC/Mag go to http://www.vexiq.com/firmware and update the firmware on your VEX IQ Brains, sensors and motors, following the directions on the VEX website.

Preparation

Logging in: there is no need to sign up to Robot Mesh Studio to run the Hour of Code activities. Once a student starts their project, the system will store their work on a temporary basis. If a student or teacher wants to be able to save their projects online, they can create an account with a email address and password.

Run through the lesson: do the activities yourself before the Hour of Code, it will save you lots of time later.

Support

Ask any questions in our Hour of Code support forum at http://www.robotmesh.com/forum/hoc

Follow-on Activities

Take a look at our VEX IQ curriculum activities to build on your Hour of Code learning more about robot movements, sensors and programming: http://www.robotmesh.com/curriculum

 

 

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