With kits provided by A+ for Mexico grant

Seventeen Mexico Middle School students have spent six weeks studying robotics and building robots.
The material for the technology and robotics unit was provided after the class received an A+ for Mexico grant last fall.
The grant, in the amount of $1,438, was awarded to Jane Coatsworth, Seagul teacher, for Lego Mindstream robotics. Each of the kits included 431 parts, including the programmable NXT brick, three interactive servo motors, ultrasonic sound, light and touch sensors, and software.
"Our robotics unit provided hands-on activities that taught problem solving, decision making, goal setting, logical thinking and group collaboration," Coatsworth said. "The robot materials will be reused for many years to come."
The students built a basic robot that moves forward at a specific speed, a line-following robot that uses a color sensor to follow a black line, and several large robots that move and used multiple motors and sensors.
As part of the building process, the students had to identify and define the robotic components, research the background information on gears and speed and calculate the speed of objects using the formula speed=distance/time.
After selecting input and output devices that produced a sequence of instructions linking cause and effect, the students practiced programming and using the robotics software to control their robot. If necessary, the students could use problem solving strategies to modify their robots.
"The students were exposed to how technology works, and to what opportunities are available for modern careers," Coatsworth said. "Students had the opportunity to identify real world situations where robots are used."
The unit also met the standards of the National Gifted Association for career exploration, advanced content, state of the art technology and diverse experiences.