I’ve never had any formal training in programming, but I’m pretty good as getting sample code, modifying it and making it do what I want. In practice, it generally means using google a lot and ending up living on stack overflow for a few days.
For VEX IQ, we still use robotC Graphical. One of my middle school IQ teams scored a 22 at WORLDS with their programming, which was tied for 6th if you’re just looking at programming scores. If you take the time to read though all the commands and make sure your kids can use them, then they can do almost everything they want to do.
In my camp last week, I had some students paired together that went to worlds but hadn’t done programming as they weren’t the “programmer.” They will be in fifth grade next year. In a half hour they had written a program that would score 40 points in Squared Away. I helped them through the first couple of iterations and they had a couple of questions as they went along, but they were pretty comfortable with it after going through it a couple of times, and I don’t think they would need much help at all if the program got erased and they had to redo it. (If only the USB port were more reliable…)
I’ve done a little with VCS, but using the sample programs it makes it pretty easy to figure out what you want to do. Use the templates, plug in what you need, give it a whirl. It can be insanely tedious, but it’s not that hard.
So I’m curious, why don’t more kids code their bot???