A Seattle organization called Xbot Robotics held a workshop where students built robots using MicroRAX girders and NXT microcontroller bricks. I love the top photo above with the mecanum wheels; all three were built by the students.
The introductory lesson for how to build a four-wheel chassis included the purpose and structure of a chassis, the parts that make up a chassis (frame, wheels, chain, motors, controllers) and the benefits of different kinds of drive trains.
Students were able to see video of 2 wheel, 4 wheel, 6 wheel and swerve drive trains as examples. Students in groups of 3-4 received chassis kits and a guide to build it.
Each day, depending on the speed with which they finished, they added another element of the chassis, like wheels, chain and the “robot brain.”
By the end of the week, students were able to program the robot using Lego NXT G to go forward, backward and turn.
The end robot challenge was to move the robot from “home base” to collect, shove or scoop pucks, bean bags and/or tennis balls from to the opposite side of the field. Depending on where the scoring objects end up after 2 minutes of play, different points were scored. Teams competed four times each.
The winner was the team with the highest cumulative score. For the entire week, students designed their scoops and strategized the best way to drive offensively and defensively to score the most points. The designs of the scoops varied. It was also important for the students to each have a chance to drive the robot on the field. More driving practice means more comfort during competition!