Socially-Distant and Remote Robotics

September 21, 2020 | By iRobot Education

Happy Back-to-School Season! Each of our iRobot Education communities’ return to learning may look a bit different, but we know one thing will always be the same: the “code” must go on!

We welcome you to explore our favorite in-person, hybrid and remote robotics arrangements and activities. Each are designed to ensure safe, collaborative coding opportunities no matter what your classroom looks like this Fall.

In-Person Arrangement #1: Robot Station

Set-Up: Set aside a safe, socially-distant area on a table or the floor of your classroom for Root and your fold-out whiteboard grid. Students can use the iRobot Coding App to take turns coding the physical Root Coding Robot. As students wait for their turns, they can prepare, debug and practice their programs with the iRobot Coding Simulator. This keeps all of your students engaged while maintaining a safe distance.

TIP: Make sure to wipe down the your Root AND whiteboard grid before and after each students’ turn.

Sample Activity: First Initial Challenge

In this coding challenge, students will alternate between coding with the iRobot Coding simulator and a physical Root Robot to write the first letter of their name.

Sample Activity: Coding Communication Challenge

In this coding challenge, students will practice collaboration and communication skills in order to conquer a robot obstacle course while maintaining a safe distance.

In-Person Arrangement #2: Whiteboard Arena

Set-Up: The Root Coding Robot attaches to magnetic, wall-mounted whiteboards, allowing for a gravity-defying robot arena. Place 1-6 robots on the whiteboard and assign students, seated at a safe distance around the room, to connect to them. Now students can code their robots to interact safely on the board together to complete a challenge!

Sample Activity: Clear the Board

In this coding challenge, students will work together (from a safe distance) with an army of whiteboard robots to clear a magnetic whiteboard of all dry-erase marks.

Sample Activity: Race Against the Ghosts

In this coding challenge, students will work together to clear the board and avoid getting tagged by the Ghost Team!

Hybrid Arrangement: Whiteboard Zoom

Set-Up: On a video call with some of your students, seat yourself in front of your whiteboard with a Root mounted and ready to go. Invite students to visit and create projects for the Root robot in your screen to follow. When students are ready to share their program, invite them to share their project to the cloud and send you the 5-character project code via chat or by raising their hand (if they're in person). Take turns loading different students’ projects so they can see how their code has travelled miles!

Sample Activity: Remote Shape Wheels

In this coding challenge, students will work in the classroom or remotely to send their teacher a bouquet of code flowers.

Virtual Arrangement: Video Call Coding

Set-Up: While on a video call, invite students to visit Once there, students will be able to create, view and share coding projects with the robot simulator.

Sample Activity: Telephone Drawing

In this coding challenge, students will work together remotely to create a code that draws a picture. This is an activity that students will complete and pass along in the background of a video call, so plan on filling its downtime with another lesson or game. Alternatively, it could be completed over the course of a week or full-day.