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Finch Grid Challenge

Create a large grid on butcher paper and label it with things you love! Challenge each other to move the Finch from place to place on the grid.

The grid idea can be used in many content areas. Elissa Hozore of Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Maryland made a grid to help her second graders work on contractions with the Finch!

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Mythological Monster Mashup

Second graders at Kentucky Avenue School in Pittsburgh, PA, use the Hummingbird robotics kit to create their own versions of monsters from Greek and Roman myths. Aimee Defoe, their teacher, incorporates this project into a larger cross-curricular unit that also focuses on myths in language arts and the history of ancient Greece and Rome. Students work in pairs to design and build their robots using mainly repurposed materials that would otherwise be discarded, such as cardboard and scraps of cloth.

Lesson Procedures: 

  1. Before the robotics portion of the project begins, have students explore mythological monsters in language arts. Read excerpts from the following books:
    • Greece! Rome! Monsters! by John Harris
    • Greek Myths by Marcia Williams
    • D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaires
  2. After reading Greek and Roman myths about monsters, have students work as a group to make a list of the features of different monsters. These features might include multiple heads, special powers, etc. Have the class work together to sketch the features of a monster.
  3. Lead students in a discussion of images from myth in the world around them. This can include making a list of gods, goddesses, and monsters referenced in books, TV shows, and advertisements; it can also include a field trip to the art museum to search for representations of myths.
    • This project can also be combined with a unit on the history of ancient Greece.
    • This project can also be carried into other subjects. For example, new vocabulary words like “sensors” can be incorporated into spelling lists.
  4. Before being introduced to the Hummingbird robotics kits, have students work in pairs to create a mashup monster that combines features from different mythological creatures.
  5. Introduce students to the components of the Hummingbird robotics kit. This can include a demonstration of a sample robot.
  6. Have students revisit their sketches to consider how they can use robotic components to animate their mashup monster. This project can be simplified for lower elementary students by limiting the number of components that they can use in their monster.
  7. Introduce students to the idea of computational thinking. This discussion should emphasizes that a program for the robot is a series of step-by-step instructions. Have students give you step-by-step instructions to complete a task within the classroom.
  8. Before each group begins to build, discuss their sketch and plan with them to ensure that their project is feasible. Remind students to bring in repurposed materials to use for their robot. Parents can also be asked ahead of time to save materials for the project.
  9. Have students begin to build their mashup monsters.
    • For younger students, it may be helpful to have stations for knives and hot glue so that students only use these tools with adult assistance.
    • To manage student questions, you may want to use the board or a large sheet of paper to have students sign up for help. This may help to prevent interruptions as you work with other groups.
  10. As students build, work with each group to show them how to use the CREATE Lab Visual Programmer. Use your sample robot to  demonstrate how to use lights, motors, and sensors. With a larger class, whole group instruction may be more appropriate for this step.
    • Encourage students to test each component with the Visual Programmer as they add it to their robot.
  11. When students complete their projects, provide an opportunity (such as an open house) for them to share their work with the school community.

 

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Finch Tells Time

Teacher Note: Start by creating a large clock face on posterboard, as shown below. This activity uses Snap! Level 3 but could be modified to use another level.

In this activity, the Finch will be the minute hand of a clock!

Place your Finch in the center of the clock face with its beak pointing at the 12.

Where should the Finch be pointing at 3:15? Write a program to make the Finch turn from the start position (pointing at 12) to the position of the minute hand at 3:15. You will need to adjust your speed and wait time carefully to make the Finch move exactly this amount. Remember, the Finch is a clock, so it should turn clockwise!

Where should the Finch be pointing at 7:40? Write a program to make the Finch turn from the start position (pointing at 12) to the position of the minute hand at 7:40.

How far does the minute hand of a clock move between 4:50 and 6:10? Write a program to show this with the Finch.

  • You know that the start time is 4:50. Where will the Finch be pointing?
  • How far should the Finch turn to show that one hour has passed? Where will the Finch be pointing now?
  • How much farther does the Finch need to turn to end at 6:10? Where will the Finch be pointing at 6:10?
  • What happens when you put it all together? Remember that you are trying to show more than one hour passing!

How far does the minute hand move between 11:30 and 1:00? Write a program to show this with the Finch.

  • You know that the start time is 11:30. Where will the Finch be pointing?
  • How far should the Finch turn to show that one hour has passed? Where will the Finch be pointing now?
  • How much farther does the Finch need to turn to end at 1:00? Where will the Finch be pointing at 1:00?
  • What happens when you put it all together? Remember that you are trying to show more than one hour passing!
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Repeating Blocks with Finch

Teacher Note: This activity uses Snap! Level 2 but could easily be modified to use any other level.

A loop is a block that repeats a portion of a program. In this activity, you will use the repeat block.

Click on the Control menu. You will see a variety of yellow-orange blocks.

Find the repeat block and add it to your program. Other blocks can be placed inside the repeat block. The repeat block repeats the blocks inside it a certain number of times. For example, the repeat block below will repeat the blocks inside it 10 times.

Think about the program below. How many times do you think the robot will move? Write down your answer, and then try the program. Was your prediction correct?

Think about the program below. How many times do you think the robot will move? Write down your answer, and then try the program. Was your prediction correct?

Now it is time to write your own program with a repeat loop! You must use a repeat loop that has at least two blocks inside it, and the Finch must move 12 times.

Extension: How many different ways can you make the Finch move 12 times using a repeat loop with at least two blocks inside it?

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Measurement Challenge

Teacher Note: This activity uses Snap! Level 2 but could be modified to use any other level.

How far does this block make the robot move?

Set your Finch so its tail is at the end of your ruler (at 0 cm). Then run the program below and measure how far the tail moves.

Next, change the number in the forward block. Try out different numbers between 1 and 10. Measure how far the robot moves for each number.

Can you use your measurements to figure out how many 8 blocks you would need to move 50 cm (or 20 in)? Make a prediction and then write a program to check your answer.

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Finch Tales

In this activity, the Finch will act out a story. Follow the steps below to put together a presentation of that story for your classmates!

  1. Choose the story that the Finch will act out! You can write your own story, or you can retell a story that you have read.
  2. Think of a few key details and events that you will need to include in your story. Try to create between 3 and 5 different scenes. (Hint: Making an outline may help with this step.)
  3. Write the script for your story. Remember to include who is saying what, and also what your Finch will be doing.
  4. Make a list of props that you will need to create. Does your Finch have a costume to wear? What does the background look like? Are there other characters?
  5. Program the Finch to act out your story! You can make the Finch move from place to place, change color, dance, sing, and speak. Try to make what the Finch is doing match your script and tell the story as best as you can.

Things to think about: Will you make the Finch act out the story autonomously (on its own), or will you create a remote control so that one person can control the Finch while another narrates? Either way will require lots of practicing and revising! Will you have the Finch perform live, or will you record a video to present?

Check out some more examples! Special thanks to Jane Martellino from Bethlehem Elementary School in Connecticut for the video featured above.

You can even create very elaborate costumes for the Finch, as shown in this video from Andy Plemmons at David C. Barrow Elementary in Georgia.


Teacher Note: This activity will require multiple class periods; however, students can do much of the preparation for the project without the Finch. Story writing and prop making can take place before the students begin working with the Finch. You may also want to allow one or two class periods after completion of the project for the students to present and share their work with each other. This will give them the opportunity to work on their oral communication skills by presenting their project, asking and answering questions, and providing feedback to their peers.

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Through the Maze I

Start by setting up a simple maze (unless your teacher has already set up a maze). You can use cardboard boxes or other objects to set up the walls of the maze. This Finch is navigating a maze at Patrick F. Taylor Sci & Tech Academy in Avondale, LA (photo by Elizabeth Kahn, Library Media Specialist)!

You can also create a maze using masking tape, as shown in this video from Jaymee Clemens at Crossroads Elementary in Mount Washington, KY.

First, write scripts that enable you to run the robot via remote control. For example, maybe you want the robot to move forward when you press the up arrow. Think about the questions below as you write your scripts:

  • What movements will the Finch need to make?
  • What keys will you use to control the Finch?

When you complete your scripts, use them to guide the robot through the maze. Use a stopwatch to measure how long it takes for the robot to complete the maze. Write this number down, you will need it later.

Next, write a program that enables the robot to complete the maze autonomously. This means that the robot must move through the maze on its own. You may press a key to start the script, but after that, you may not use the keyboard or move the robot. Be sure to test your program often as you add blocks to it. Also, save your work frequently!

When you complete your second program, use a stopwatch to measure how long it takes for the robot to complete the maze autonomously. If you have time, try to make the robot complete the maze as fast as possible.

Compare these two ways of completing the maze. Which is faster, remote control or autonomy? Which would work better for a new maze?

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Tag/Soccer

You are going work as a team to build a robot controller. That means you are going to use keys on the keyboard to control the basic robot actions. This is different from creating an autonomous robot that can act intelligently. After you write your program, you will use the Finch to play tag!

First, you need to program your Finch. Be sure to take turns so that everyone on your team gets a chance to program! To play tag, your robot must be able to do the following:

  1. Move forward when the up arrow is pressed.
  2. Move backward when the down arrow is pressed.
  3. Turn left when the left arrow is pressed.
  4. Turn right when the right arrow is pressed.
  5. Have a red beak when it is “it.” (Pick a key to press when your Finch is “it.”)
  6. Have a green beak when not “it.”
  7. Make a four-toned noise when it tags another Finch. (Pick a key to press when this occurs.)

When you have scripts for these actions, you are ready to play tag. Find at least one other team and have fun. Let others join as they finish. When you play tag, your team should take turns controlling the Finch through the keyboard, holding the USB tether out of the way, and acting as a referee.

Make sure to save your work!

Extension: Take this further by playing Finch soccer! You will need to add scripts to “dribble” and “shoot” a wiffle ball. You may also want to use cardboard and tape to add an attachment to help your Finch control the ball.

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Speed of the Finch

Level 1: Elements below will be performed using Level 1 of Snap!

  1. Each forward block makes the Finch move for 1 second. Calculate the speed of the Finch in inches per second. You will need paper, a ruler, and a writing utensil. Remember, rate = distance/time.
  2. Bonus: Calculate the speed of the Finch in miles per hour.
  3. Measure the length and width of your work surface. How many forward blocks are needed to make the Finch move along each side?
  4. Measure the angle (in degrees) that corresponds to one turn block.
  5. How many blocks are needed for a 90° turn?
  6. Write a program that makes the Finch move along the perimeter of your work surface without falling off. The Finch must beep and change its beak color three times.

Level 2: Elements below will be performed using Level 2 of Snap!

  1. Each forward block makes the Finch move for half a second. Calculate the speed of the Finch for speed parameters of 10, 5, and 2.
  2. How can you make a right angle turn in Level 2 of Snap?
  3. Try out two blocks in the Control menu.

Write a script that makes the Finch move and return to the starting point. For example, the Finch might start in the center of your workspace, move to the edge, and then return to the center. This must be accomplished without following the same path in reverse.

Level 3: Elements below will be performed using Level 3 of Snap!

  1. How can you make the Finch rotate 360°?
  2. How can you program the Finch to move in a circle? What determines the size of the circle?

Select the programming task from Level 1 or Level 2 and perform that task using Level 3 of Snap!.

Extension: Write a proposal for a practical, real-world application of the Finch.

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Finch Patterns

In this activity, you will use the Finch to practice creating and identifying number patterns. In math class, you may have learned about different number patterns which involve adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. Here is an example of an add two number pattern:

2, 4, 6, 8, 10…

What would the rule be for a pattern like this?

14, 11, 8, 5, 2…

First, talk with your group to determine what pattern you want to use. Write out the pattern of numbers. Be sure to include at least five numbers in the sequence.

Next, write a program that will display the numbers within the pattern. You can do this by making the Finch play his buzzer, blink the color of his beak, or move in different directions. Be sure to make it clear when the Finch is moving on to the next number within the sequence. For example, if my pattern started with the numbers 2 and 4, I may make the Finch’s beak blink red twice, turn off for one second, then blink blue four times.

After you have programmed your own Finch to display a number pattern, you can visit other groups to try to figure out what pattern they have created. Record the numbers that their Finch displays to you, then try to figure out the rule with your group.