Hello! If you’re here, you are probably an educator who wants to teach kids about the EV3 LEGO programming system in Scratch. If you’re not wanting to teach that, you can head over to the help page to try to find what you’re looking for.
This lesson is about the EV3 basics for kids who have never seen or interacted with the programmable EV3 brick. The format will be in the form of a lesson plan.
Depending on your setup, the way you start the lesson will differ. If you have the setup we outlined (so a FLL mat with a USB camera facing down on it, a phone camera facing you, and a TA phone camera for looking at the robot from different and variable angles; meeting with students on Zoom, etc), then each probably each student has their own robot.
To communicate with the TAs, you may want a common group chat outside of Zoom so that they can flag students who are lost and other problems a teacher might not readily see. It is also useful for giving TAs indications on how to help a struggling student.
We suggest to start the lesson by putting the PowerPoint/Keynote on the host computer and sharing the screen. In the first presentation, you will want to go over what the EV3 brick is, what FLL is, and the goals of your course. You don’t want to go into too much detail, but let them understand what they will learn.
Before your lesson, you will want to look at this website here: https://www.cs2n.org/u/track_progress?id=292.
This website contains many useful videos to put in your presentation, and extensive explanations to complement yours.
In your slides, you may want to put in some of those videos, or make your own with screen recording and video editing.
- You want to start the zoom by introducing yourself and the TAs (if you have any), and then screen sharing the powerpoint or keynote.
- Start your lecture by watching a video about the EV3 brick and mindstorms software to let the students understand the context.
- Then play videos from the cs2n.org website and have questions with Zoom Polls (need pro account), to keep the students active
- The topics to cover in these videos are:
- How to plug in/out cables
- EV3 port numbering system
- Using port view
- Navigating EV3 brick
- Learning the basics of the Scratch Programming Interface*
- Basic programming workflow
- what is FIRST and FLL
- Then take a small break. That should have been about 1h-1h30.
- After the break, do a hands-on lab: each student with their robot should practice using the brick and software
- Use the breakout rooms (free) to split students with a TA in each room, who will use their phone camera to point at the robot/robot screen, and who will screen share their scratch app so that students can follow. Students with questions should screen share and point their cameras at their robots.
- Let them in breakout rooms for ~20min, be on lookout for messages from the TAs in the common group chat. (see above)
- Near the end of the lesson time, bring everyone back in the room for questions. There will be many questions and bugs and wrong software. See below for software tips.
- After almost all questions are answered, announce the HW. The HW should be to get familiar with the brick and maybe try to explore the programming interface to get used to it. It shouldn’t be formal to get a grade etc. If the course requires a grade, give it based on participation in the class.
- Let everyone who doesn’t have questions go, and answer the remaining questions. If parents linger, tell them to ask you by email. It will save you much more time:) Also let the TAs go at this point, since you will be the only one answering questions. Maybe keep a tech savvy TA near you in case you are unsure of yourself.
- Close the Zoom Meeting.
*There is a new EV3 software that runs on macOS 10.15 and 11.0 called EV3 Classroom; this is the one you want to use for this lesson. If you are thinking of LabView, see here.
Make sure that the software the students have is the EV3 classroom, not the scratch EV3 extension. The full classroom software is much better and has more blocks.
Note: if you have Windows PCs or old macs, try to use the LabView software as it is more precise and easier to understand for children, the Python is much harder and a pain to set up, but is good for introducing advanced members to written code and OOP.
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© The Robo Mentors (Marc and Anne-Sarah)