Pre-clinic preparation for Saturday's Programming Clinics

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Patrick R. Michaud

Oct 16, 2014, 1:54:44 PM10/16/14
to North Texas FLL Group
Hello again FLL Coaches!

This Saturday (Oct 18) UTD will host our first set of FLL Coaches Clinics focusing on programming. The morning session will 9:00a-12:00p on Beginning Programming, and the afternoon session will be 1:00p-4:00p on Advanced Programming. I'm planning to end the morning session a little earlier than 12:00, though, to give people more time to get some lunch between the two sessions. Each session will also have at least one short break in the middle.

The sessions will be held in the SLC auditorium on the UTD campus -- this is the same room where the FLL Kickoff was held on September 20th. You should be able to park in any GREEN space on campus, I recommend Lot H as being the closest to SLC.

If you haven't taken the registration and survey yet, please do so: . The registration and survey aren't required for attendance, but they really help guide our preparations for Saturday.

Because we're in the auditorium we should have more space than we originally planned, so if a coach needs to bring two or three additional team members to the UTD clinic I think it will be okay.

In each of the sessions I will try to provide opportunities for attendees to try some (not all) exercises using their own robots and laptops. We won't be providing any robots or laptops at the clinic, so you need to bring your own with you if you want to do that. Make sure your laptop has the EV3 Mindstorms software already installed on it, and that you're able to get it to communicate with your robot -- e.g., via USB cable. (If you're using an NXT robot, I still recommend using the EV3 software to program it.)

If you don't have a robot already, I recommend the "Educator Vehicle (with attachments)" for the clinic. This is the robot I'll be using for demonstrations. The instructions for this build are included in the EV3 Education Kit, and you can also find a PDF download at the top of . Be sure to add the gyro sensor and light sensor attachments.

Of course, don't feel as though you need to bring a laptop and robot to the clinic -- many coaches and members have found it's much easier to just watch, listen, take notes, and ask questions. And it's always helpful to have people around who can help troubleshoot programs and robots. :)

The tentative set of topics for each clinic:

Beginning Programming (9:00a-11:30a)
Overview of EV3 Programming environment and programming basics
Motor block basics -- moving forward and backward
Turning using a gyro sensor (EV3 robots only)
Using "port view" and "view mode" to see sensor values
Detecting lines, borders, and colors
Simple My Blocks (creating blocks for turning and missions)

Advanced Programming (1:00p-4:00p)
Programming and robot game strategy
Loops and sensor blocks
Moving along a heading with gyros
Line following / edge following
Specifying distances in centimeters
Understanding navigation error

There's a lot of material to cover in a short period of time, and all of it is very useful, so be prepared that we'll be proceeding at a fairly good pace. I have other topics we can cover if there's time left over in either session, but that almost never happens. :)

If you have any questions, feel free to ask here on the list or contact me at <>.

I'm looking forward to seeing many of you on Saturday!


Thuy Nguyen

Oct 16, 2014, 2:34:22 PM10/16/14
Hi Patrick,

My previous email may get lost in your spam folder.
Would you be able to help me to help my team with design of the lift.  
I'm not good at mechanical parts, and is not much help for my team in this area.
They got the drawer slides (3 sections) using for the lift/elevator but have problem figure out how to lift it up fully .
We just miss some basic physic principles, and need expert/professional guidance.
If I can see a real life example, I can give them some direction.  

Will you be available to give me a tutoring session?  I'm driving there next week to meet with them.
They have no one there to coach them.  So, I'm the only help they get.

Please let me know,
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