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 IU Trident Indiana University

Ready, Set Robots! introduces teens to technology-related fields and concepts including computer programming, high performance computing, and networking as they work side by side with IU technology professionals and researchers. Using kits from the LEGO® Mindstorms® series, participants work in small teams to learn the basic computer programming skills needed to command a robot to complete a set of predetermined tasks. Workshops culminate in an exciting Robot Showdown, a lighthearted final competition in which each team's robot struts its stuff in hopes being named best in show.

Materials needed in addition to the Lego Mindstorms® kit depend upon the task at hand. As an example, one programming challenge we have used repeatedly with 8-12 graders requires the students to create a program to use an infrared (IR) sensor to discover an IR-emitting ball, navigate the robot towards the ball and grasp it, all autonomously. This requires an IR source (IR-emitting ball or IR source and separate ball) and an arena to contain the robot and ball. It is also important to have a large pad of paper or whiteboard available for planning out algorithms and discussing ideas.