12 Jun Harry and Killian go to DCU
Harry and Killian from 6th class were chosen to take part in the The Centre for Talented Youth’s Robotics Programme in DCU. Here’s what they told us about it.
Every Wednesday for four weeks, we went to DCU after school to our Robotics class. There were lots of other boys and girls there too from other schools. There are three pillars of robotics, they are mechanics, electronics and computer programming. Mechanics and electronics alone are considered engineering, adding the computer programming allows you to control what you’ve made.
The first week was mechanics-themed, and we had to come up with an idea to protect an egg from breaking if it was dropped from a height. We were given 300 points at the start of the session and we could use these points to buy materials to make our invention. If the egg broke during testing, we had to use 100 points to buy another. We came up with the idea to make a tripod pyramid out of straws, tissue paper and Sellotape. Some teams broke their eggs, but ours survived and Harry brought it home to make french toast. Yum!
Week two was electronics, and we had a kit that we could connect stuff to, like LED lights. We learned how important restrictors are when using batteries and electricity- if we didn’t use them it could short circuit and cause an electrical fire. Luckily we didn’t start any fires! Our first project was with a restrictor, switch and an LED. We had a speaker that we had to connect, but we didn’t get it to work. One group got it to work by holding the wire up in the air like an antenna. We made a motion sensor as an extra project.
Week three was full robotics and we split up for this week. Killian made a robotic car in a team, it could receive a signal from a controller. Once it was connected it could be driven, but only two of the wheels were working so it kept on spinning around. Harry started computer programming this week, that was continued into week four.
Week four started with Chromebooks. Harry started trying things out on Scratch and made a little game. Then, the lecturer showed us some Google Slides about computer programming. We logged onto a website where we used some simplified code to move characters and get to the end of a dungeon game. Then Harry experimented with Scratch again, making Sprites move based on the code he created.
We had lots of fun, we learned a lot of robotics and we look forward to learning more in the future. A big thank you to the lecturer in DCU, who was teaching us as part of his Masters Degree in Robotics.
If you would like to learn more about the programme, click here.