Monthly Archives: September 2012

Robot Races

The Robot Lab (formerly known as the Buggy Lab)

Just the simple ability to program the robots with a range of clearly distinct speeds was a productive supplement to the traditional buggy lab.

In physics modeling instruction, the constant velocity particle model begins with a paradigm investigation of the motion of constant-speed buggies. This summer, I reprogrammed the Scribbler 2 Robot from Parallax Corporation to be a physics apparatus , and this was my first chance to use them. (I intend the robot project itself to be the subject of a future blog post.) For the robot lab, I programmed the robots to have speeds from 10cm/s to 18.5cm/s, but all to go 150cm before stopping.

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Microcosm (definition): 

a community or other unity that is an epitome of a larger unity (Meriam Webster Dictionary)

I use the word microcosm to refer to a classroom of students acting as scientific investigators to construct and deploy the laws and concepts of physics.  The classroom is a microcosm of the larger scientific community. 

I also use the word microcosm to refer to the use of technology to create a limited physical world, within which students can explore independently and figure things out for themselves.