New to teaching VEX EDR

Hi, I am new to VEX EDR. I am teaching a new class next year that will begin with a unit on robotics. My school purchased the following for about 50-60 students across two classes.

Qty(2) - https://www.vexrobotics.com/276-3000.html
Qty(1) - https://www.vexrobotics.com/vexedr/products/kits-and-bundles/278-3333.html

8 robots total. Is this sufficient for the number of students?

Any training recommendations for a new users? online or classroom.

Thank you!
Lisa

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I would suggest one robot per 3-4 students. Also, join the VEX world coaches association on Facebook

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There is a Facebook page called “VEX World Coaches.” Please consider joining - lots of great advice on topics of interest to coaches and teachers

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Beat you to it! :grinning:

20 characters

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Are you planning classroom only, or competitive robotics also? Check out Robosource.net for some team tool kits (star-drive versions).

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I guess classroom first and maybe competitive robotics later. It is all new to me.

Do you think it is possible to share robots between two classes?

Thank you!

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No, they they cannot effectively share, unless you don’t plan to go beyond teaching programming of the trainer. And you’ll do no competitive robotics.

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Be sure to have a large budget set aside because if the kids want to build a higher level robot, they will want more parts, and those cost a bit. Make sure not only the kids are engaged and building their own ideas, but you are as well. It doesn’t hurt to do some research on build quality and programming.
Have fun!

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I don’t think it’s practical to share robots between 2 classes. For build purposes, 8 robots for 50 - 60 students (I’m assuming 2 classes of ~ 30 each) is not nearly enough. As suggested, 3-4 students per robot is reasonable.

It takes 2-3 hours to build a “bare-bones” robot that drives and maybe has a simple lifting mechanism, so you can’t have a class work 45 minutes, then another class take apart and work 45 minutes with the same equipment. More sophisticated robots easily take 100+ hours and can’t be deconstructed in between classes. If you have lab classes that meet 4-6 hours at a stretch, you might be able to build a simple robot on Monday (4-6 hours), take apart, then new students build another robot on Tuesday (4-6 hours). But it would be hard to get beyond the ground level if you have to take apart every few hours.

One solution I can see would be to have 50 - 60 students build with 8 kits is to have teams of 6 - 9 students work on submodules. Have smaller teams (2-3 students) build: 1 ) a driving base, 2) a lift, 3) a manipulator (intake, launch mechanism).

But it’s not easy to take 3 components and “throw them together” to make a robot that drives, lifts, and intakes/launches. The components need to be integrated intelligently from the start.

The other way I could see this working is to make 8 teams with 7-8 students each. But some students could have support roles other than building/programming the robot – CAD, photography, notebook entries, fundraising, supply management (battery charging and sorting, organizing, and putting away parts). It wouldn’t work well to swap roles, unless the build duration is long. For example, group 1 (4 people): build/program for 4-6 weeks and finish a robot, group 2 (4 people) - support role for 4-6 weeks. Take apart the robot, then swap roles for another 4-6 weeks.

Neither of these ideas is great – they’re barely tolerable. If there’s any way to double your inventory (8 kits for EACH class of 25-30), I think you’ll find the classes more manageable.

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@Izaranski

Welcome to the insanity that is trying to get new students to understand that these things are essentially giant mecano sets and that yes they do need to do a bit of research on the mechanics/engineering. Next year will be my third year teaching our Robotic Engineering class; essentially we teach basic engineering and design processes by building for the state competitions mixed in with challenges I design to help the students train their programming skills e.g. labyrinths, shooting, lifting.

I’m honestly impressed with the number of students you have signed up, I have approximately 10 students in my semester class in the fall so I’ll have about 4 teams to send to competitions. That’s one brain, 8 motors, sensors, and metal/wheels etc. per team. There’s no way you can effectively teach 60 students across 2 classes with 8 robots. You’re going to run in to the too many cooks spoil the broth problem. I’d say that in a class of 30! (Jeeze where are they all sitting? Building robots takes some space). you should have about 8 robots just for that class giving groups of 3-4. Personally I never go over 3/team; you always end up with a coaster/spare wheel.

For your size classes that would be double the robots you have; I hope you have some good storage/parts system set up for hex wrenches, metal cutting, grinders etc.

If you’re completely new to the platform then I can recommend this to get you started:

https://education.vex.com/eduvex/edr/stem-labs/

They are independent units that give students tasks and have them design and program robots starting from a basic platform. You can scale up a little easier by just buying extra brains/controllers as they don’t take much to build. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions about running things like this as a class.

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As a sorta new robotics student, I think it is easy to teach the basics of robotics first, including the Engineering Design Process. EDP for us was what helped us think through our problems. Also after they learn basics, don let them use instructions and have them research to find answers to problems. The thing I wish our teacher would of done is let us have more time to use our minds and plan and then build. Let them come up with their own ideas based off of others ideas they have perhaps saw on the internet.

If you do not mind me asking what grades are you teaching?

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Adding to what @ManicMechanic said, it would only be possible if you teach with a fixed lesson plan, when at the beginning all teams are expected to build exactly the same robot, learning basics like how to build chassis, mount motors, use bearing blocks, gear ratios, etc…

Only after basics are covered, you could let teams differentiate by building small unique attachments and/or manipulators.

Even though 50-60 students have signed up for the classes and will all benefit from learning introduction to mechanical engineering / robotics, realistically, probably, only 10-15 of them will find it interesting to the point where they would want to stay extra hours and build something new that was not covered in the class.

I would suggest to have a special meeting time for those students, where they could, not only practice their building skills, but also make some improved base robots that could be used for instructing the rest of the students in the later part of the class.

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In 2011, I was the Christa McAuliffe sabbatical recipient for the state of New Hampshire. As part of my project, I put together a web site for new users. Over the years I have keep the site active, so it includes legacy materiel all the way through to information on VEX IQ and the VEX V5 system , It also has .pdf’s for classroom handouts, YouTube videos and Google slideshows. In addition, on the front page there are links to photos and videos of robots from our New Hampshire competitions and the VEX World championships from the past 8 years , as well as a the three years we competed at the CREATE US Open. These can yield a lot of great ideas for designs. You can find it at http://simplerobotics.org

Some other resources include:

Curriculums
VEX EDR STEM Labs , see @dbridgewater post above

VEX EDR Curriculum (not V5 based) https://curriculum.vexrobotics.com/curriculum-overview.html

Downloads
VEX Coding studio https://www.vexrobotics.com/vexedr/products/programming

V5 Stand alone Firmware update https://www.vexrobotics.com/vexedr/products/firmware

PROS Software https://pros.cs.purdue.edu/

Robot Mesh Studio https://www.robotmesh.com/studio

MatLab & Simulink https://www.mathworks.com/academia/student-competitions/vex-robotics.html?s_tid=srchtitle

SolidWorks https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/?sm=%2BFihOgUiYLPepDsEYt6D7g%3D%3D

Autodesk Software https://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/featured

Other
http://help.vexcodingstudio.com/

https://help.vex.com/collection/122-vex-coding-studio

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This paper has some improved links to CAD software:. CAD for VEX Robotics.pdf (199.4 KB)

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