Lego EV3 is a great way to start with robotics and coding in your classroom. The free Mindstorms EV3 Lego Education app has tutorials for teachers that will help you get started.
Go to the App Store and download the "Mindstorms EV3 Lego Education App" on one of your school iPads & grab a Lego EV3 robot.
Once the app has been downloaded and installed, click the icon to open the app. The first thing you will see is the app control panel. You can access and play with any of the options you see in the control panel.
The first option entitled “Let’s Prepare” is a good place to start if you are completely unfamiliar with EV3. It will walk you through the various EV3 components included in the kit and how to build a basic “brick” for an EV3 robot. A brick is the "brain" of the robot. Once you have your “brick” powered up and ready to go you will have to connect it to your iPad via Bluetooth. Here are some resources that will help you do that:
• Connecting Your EV3 via BlueTooth
• EV3 Education App Intro Guide
This article is going to specifically explore the “teacher tutorial section”. Please click the “grey right arrow” on the right-hand side of the screen.
When the right arrow is clicked the built-in tutorials can be accessed. You can click on any of those tutorials and the app will walk you through a pre-built program that will challenge you to make the EV3 do specific tasks. Click on the first option entitled “Curve Move”
Clicking on the tutorial will cause a window to open up with instructions specific to the tutorial include text instructions, video, and links to resources (like the user manual). There will be several slides for each tutorial (see images below). In this example, there are 4 slides that are related to this tutorial.
The first slide explains the objective of the tutorial. In this example, the objective is to “use the move steering block to steer the robot”.
The second slide explains what you need to build using the Lego EV3 components to be able to complete the tutorial. In this example, you have to build the driving base.
The fourth slide video illustrates how the block programming code (the little sections of code shown on the slide) animate the EV3 robot. Play the video and each block of code is highlighted showing you how the robot reacts to that code. Please don’t be intimidated by words like “programming”, “coding”, etc. In most cases, you can substitute the word “instructions” with those words.
The final slide in this example is the “Test and Modify It” slide. By clicking the “Sample program” button the tutorial block code is assembled in the programming screen.
When your brick is connected to the app via Bluetooth you can click the “green” start button at the beginning of the block coding string. This will download the program to the EV3 brick that is connected and execute the program.
Your EV3 will now perform the curved move task. This is the “Test It” instruction. Read the “Modify” instruction and try and complete the next task. You can duplicate blocks of code, add blocks of code, rearrange blocks of code, and change variables in each block of code in order to achieve the modify it objective.
Hold your finger on the piece of block code you want to duplicate and choose the copy option. Then place your figure where you want to paste the code and select the paste option.
You can choose to add code by selecting a piece of block code at the bottom of the screen. Here are your options:
- The Green Tab has the following block code options:
- Medium Motor
- Large Motor
- Move Tank
- Sound Brick Status
- The Yellow Tab has the following block code options:
- The Purple Tab has the following comment options. You would use these options to document what you have done:
- Green comment blocks
- Yellow comment blocks
- Purple comment blocks
Each block of code has variables that can be manipulated. You can change the numbers in the variable to do things like determine the number of rotations a wheel makes or increase the speed of the motor. Click here to learn more about variables.
Here are some resources to further explain EV3 coding:
• Learn To Program
• A Teachers Guide To Programming
• Intro To Robotics Lesson Plan
• Lego Education YouTube Channel
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