Exploring Calculators and Venier Probes

Learners gain knowledge through exploring basic programming, TI 84 graphing calculator, robotics, Venier probes, the scientific method, and the engineering design process. Through project-based challenges, learners apply this knowledge by conducting experiments using the TI 84 calculator with the Venier probes and programming a robot chassis through an obstacle course.

Description

Introduction to programming:
Learners explore the basics of "programming" the Texas Instruments 84 Plus Graphing Calculator. Students discuss and agree upon a working definition of programming, practice following written program directions using manipulatives. They then construct their own two-step, "if/then" and multi-step programs.

Introduction to coding and decoding:
Learners code and decode programs in preparation for the TI-robot coding scheme. Each team of students then exchange their program challenge with another team to see if they are able to independently solve their program challenge and compare the solution with the creating team's program challenge solution.

Introduction to TI-Robot Programming:
Learners explore programming the TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator as a part of the TI-Robot. Through a series of activities that include coding and decoding programs, with simple to advanced programming techniques students are introduced to the specifics of programming the TI-84, and the use of twp-step (e.g., IF/ELSE) and multi-step programming.

Programming Challenges

Obstacle Course:
Learners are provided with an obstacle course that they construct on their worktable. Each team of two students uses the programming skills that they had learned to navigate the obstacle course using their TI84 Robot. Subsequently, students construct their own obstacle courses and program their TI84 Robot to navigate their obstacle course.

Using Vernier Probes to collect data:
Learners collect and present data by using their TI 84 with Vernier probes. The probes include: Temperature, UVA, UVB, pH, Soil Moisture, Light, and Conductivity sensors. Students then chart a graph of the data collected on large on-wall displays to share their findings. Ultimately, students design their own experiments using probes of their choice. They prepare a description of their experiment, make a hypothesis, design their experiment, collect data, analyze and interpret their data, and finally share the results of their experiment.

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