A second extension to the “Moon Challenge” is for the student to teach their robot to go in a loop around the “Moon”, before returning to “Earth”.
At one of the Adult Education parent/child weekend robotics workshops run by Yaya Lu and myself, one of the girls wanted to program her robot to do a loop around the Moon before returning back to Earth. We have subsequently used her idea as a Moon Challenge extension for students who finish early, before the rest of the class.
The video above is a “proof of concept” video. We wanted to check that the Fusion robot is capable of imitating this girl’s robot solution to the Moon Challenge.
This Fusion program is a little different from the previous Blockly Moon Challenge programs. The “Rotate” command that we previously used to change Fusion’s direction, is not appropriate in this case. The previously used “Rotate” command spun our Fusion robot around on the spot. To go in a loop around the Moon, we will need to use separate motor commands for each motor. In MRI’s Fusion implementation of Blockly, separate motor commands do not have a time limit built in. We have to add a separate “Time” command limit after the two motor commands. The motors will continue running until the “Time” command is finished. This is discussed in the video.
This “Loop” version has proven a worthwhile extension to a Moon Challenge, as you will see from the video above.
There have been other extensions suggested by past students, which they have implemented. I remember one boy student was particularly enthusiastic about his “super-dooper secret spy robot”. It left Earth in the opposite direction to everyone else’s robots, heading away from the Moon. His reasoning was that anyone on Earth would think his robot would be going to Mars or Venus. What his robot was actually going to do, he said, was to go around the Moon and spy on the secret enemy base on the far side of the Moon, an enemy base which we could not see from Earth. He knew that people on Earth only ever see about one half of the Moon, and that no one on Earth can see anything on the far side of the Moon when they are standing on the Earth. This is not widely known, but he knew it! He then taught his Robot to return past the Earth, turn around in Space, and then come back to the Earth from his Mars or Venus direction, so that no-one on Earth would know where he had been spying! He was very proud of his super-dooper secret spy robot, and he completed his version of this Challenge quite satisfactorily – to the applause of the other students…
I’m sure the fertile imaginations of your students could also think of lots of other variations to this Challenge – have fun!