Using Robots to Light the
Spark of Knowledge
The RobotsLAB BOX comes with a flying quadcopter,
a four-wheeling rover similar to an R/C car, a robotic arm,
and a robot ball. When students see a robot such as a
quadcopter in action, they become very excited. The
teacher uses the robot’s flying behavior and a camera
mounted beneath it to demonstrate a math concept such
as a quadratic equation in Algebra class. This helps the
students to learn what quadratics accomplish in the
RobotsLAB BOX was created in response to the
demand from teachers that they be able to use it to get
kids interested in difficult and abstract math and science
concepts. As noted, with no prior experience with robots
or computer science, teachers can start and complete a
math lesson by controlling the robot with a tablet
computer. The tablet comes preloaded with all the
lessons the teacher will need.
The BOX is useful in teaching math concepts from
Algebra to Geometry, Trigonometry, Physics, and all the
way to Precalculus. Lessons cover slope, linear equations,
polar coordinations, and cosines. Teachers in each grade
informed RobotsLAB what concepts the students struggle
with most. “We partnered with these teachers to create
the first set of lessons to cover all these important
subjects,” says Inbar.
A Sample Lesson
In an example of one lesson, the teacher uses the
quadcopter and a bottom-mounted camera to hover and
go up and down to show the difference in area that the
camera can see at different heights. So, the relationship
between the height of the copter and the area the
camera can see is a quadratic relationship.
While the teacher moves the quadcopter up and
down, a projector displays the mathematical relationship
onto a screen for the kids to see. This connects the
abstract concept with the real world for the students.
The lessons include hands-on experience with the robot,
making it perform the mathematical calculation.
“In the concrete world that we understand with our
senses, you can just look at something and understand it.
When we look at the quadcopter hovering, we can tell
whether it is one foot or two feet off the ground. We
want to bridge the gap between this concrete world and
the abstract math concept so the kids know it represents
something that happens in the real world,” explains
Inbar. The quadcopter transmits data from its sensors so
the dot on the projector screen is in sync with the height
of the copter.
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Monthly coverage of commercial, unique, and military robotics.
A teacher works with students who are learning
using the RobotsLAB BOX quadcopter, which you can see
flying in front of them.