This book contains a series of projects based on the affordable mBot, a STEM-focused robot kit from Makeblock. You will start by learning how to turn the onboard LEDs on and off using mBlock. mBlock is a development environment based on MIT’s Scratch, but without Scratch download. The projects cover using the sensors and motors and fun activities such as creating an ultrasonic theremin and finishing by using all of these newly acquired skills to create a maze-solving robot. Full source code is available at Github (https://goo.gl/CWROM5).
All of the proceeds from the sales of this book go into a fund for assisting robotics teams to purchase the hardware, software, and training they need to learn the skills necessary to be successful roboticists.
Amazon customer’s review part 1:
As a cravat, I bought this book as a starting guide to teaching groups of 4-5 grade gifted students about robotics. These students typically had at least a year of classroom experience with the coding program Scratch before using MBlock. It is one of the two coding languages of programming the mBots. This book focuses on using the MBlock programming while the author has another book focussing on the Arduino programming. The book and the concepts seem written with at least a middle school student (possibly high school) beginner in mind. However, I felt it was easy to adapt the projects to upper elementary level of understanding by simplifying.
Amazon customer’s review part 2:
A Gentle Guide to Robotics was an invaluable resource for me as a teacher. Each chapter is very accessible and easy to understand, even if you didn’t have much coding background. Each chapter has a section talking about the concepts and what the project is. Then it introduces what the coding steps to one possible solution is. There is also always a troubleshooting guide each chapter. It can be a bit repetitive since many of the hardware issue could be the same regardless of the project, but helpful nonetheless). The coding steps are both verbally explained and have illustrations. The projects are always creative and fun, with plenty of space for students to “tweak” and experiment. However, because each project focuses on teaching a new concept, it is important to go more or less in the order the chapters are presented. I often expanded the lessons and added extra steps since my students were younger and needed more time to get each concept. But even if you didn’t do that, there is plenty in the book to keep students busy for a semester or more.
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