Robotics 1.5 - Englebrecht

TPSF Summer Academy

Week 2: July 3-7

I can not even believe that our 2nd week of summer academy is over! We are at the halfway point and I can honestly say I don't want it to end! Your kids are fantastic and I enjoy having every one of them in this class. We are learning a lot and are getting to really jump into the world of VEX Robotics.

Monday we wrapped up our last "mechanism" challenge, this is the last build we will have that doesn't require programming. Students demonstrated excellence and the ability to think like robotic engineers! In addition, we had another teamwork challenge. Students had to transport dry spaghetti noodles in between 2 plates to the bucket. Students learned quickly that like our robotics parts spaghetti is fragile! In order for robotics to work well we need to be careful with our parts and use communication to convey our ideas.

On Wednesday we started coding in RobotC! Students really got the hang of things quickly and I am so excited to see them apply their coding skills to their new robotic designs. We are now in the "automation" phase of robotics. We take our mechanisms and add motors, sensors, and coding to make the robot perform an action.

Thursday was spent on our first Amusement Park ride, the carousel. This summer we will be designing, creating, and programming a VEX Amusement Park. We will go through different mechanisms and programming skills as we build the rides at the park! All of the Carousels turned out AWESOME! They were all given the same task but none turned out the same...Your kids are incredibly creative and talented!

Friday was a blast as we shared our carousels with the Robotics 1 class. We were able to show them our mechanisms and they showed us what they were working on!

Next week we will begin our second ride of the summer... The SPEED RACE CAR ROLLER COASTER! We are applying gear trains that increase speed. We will see whose car can go 20 feet the fastest at our competition next week!


Wednesday was a VERY exciting day in Robotics 1.5! Students were introduced to the world of RobotC. RobotC is the platform for coding with VEX. We use a Hybrid Language in RobotC that allows students to get familiar with coding language. We practice the functions in RobotC, try out several commands, and learn how to break down a complex task into small basic behaviors that a robot can perform. We spent the majority of Wednesday trying out practice problems with the cortex (brain), motors, batteries, and sensor switches. I was so impressed with how quick everyone caught on!

Robotics Builds This Week!

Star Wars Challenge

In order for our class to successfully battle the Empire we needed to complete all 3 tasks for our new base! We were successful in all of our missions...way to go Jedi's!

Task 1: Elevator Command Center

The leaders of the rebellion need to establish a head command center for their new base. They need a machine to move all of their heavy equipment, at one time, from room to room. Some of these rooms are on the second floor, so the machine should be able to traverse vertically. One of the pieces of equipment is an old R2 Unit.


  • Must be large enough to move all of the equipment at once.

  • The equipment is very heavy. The machine can move slowly, but it must be capable of carrying a lot of weight.

Task 2: Sonar Communication Disk

The rebellion needs a rotating sonar dish that will allow them to communicate with the rebel pilots taking off and landing at the base of the new planet. The sonar dish needs to be controlled from inside the building to protect the rebellion from the invasion of stormtroopers.


  • Needs to have a minimum gear ratio of 1:5 (it has to move slow! For every 1 turn of the big gear the small gear needs to turn 5 times)

  • Must be controlled away from the sonar dish (inside the building)

  • Needs to be able to rotate in all directions.

Task 3: Jedi Training Center

In order for the rebels to thrive on their new base and continue their fight vs. the Empire they need a Jedi training facility. The Jedi training facility has only one input for power so bothtraining components must be connected. One training unit is a controlled lightsaber station where Jedis practice a lightsaber slash in a downward chopping motion. The secondtraining unit is a treadmill station to increase the speed and agility of the Jedi.


  • Must create one machine that will perform both tasks.

  • Must have only one input to run all devices in order to save energy.

  • Must be no larger than 10 in. x 10 in.

Amusement Park Ride #1: The Carousel

The first ride at your amusement park is a classic, a Carousel! You need to design the carousel that will spin at a slow speed. The carousel must include a gear train and must be visually appealing to the kids coming to your amusement park. There must be at least 5 spots on the ride.

Criteria and Constraints:

You must design a robot that will only use one motor

You must use a pushbutton to start and stop the carousel

Must have a gear train decreasing speed

Must have a looped program

VEX Carousel 2017

Checking out VEX IQ


-Class Monday-Thursday next week!

Have a great weekend!

Megan Englebrecht