Probability experiment with throwing robot

Objective:

Students will develop and program a throwing robot that is able to throw a ping pong ball. Using the robot, students will carry out a simple probability experiment in which they examine sample space and frequency.

On the basis of their experiment, they will subsequently consider what can affect the sample space and what changes they can make to the code or hardware in order to change the sample space. In order to carry out the project, it is important that students have knowledge of the terms: sample space (outcome), frequency and relative frequency.


Planning

To get started with this lesson, the teacher should have the following tools ready prior to class.

  • Fable robots (with LEGO module)
  • Laptop PCs with Fable software installed
  • Ping pong balls
  • LEGO
  • Measuring tape (preferably 5 meters (US: 15 feet) or more)
  • Rugs/mats (or other surface to prevent the ball from rolling away)
  • Assignment sheet


Learning activities

Students are divided into groups of 2-3.

Prior to the project, it is important that students have worked with terms such as sample space, frequency and relative frequency. On the assignment sheet, there is a description of how a frequency table can be set up, but it may be a good idea to review the design of the table together as a class.

Students develop a throwing robot using a joint module and a platform for the ball made of LEGO bricks. It may be a good idea to start by doing an activity in which various designs are tested and the class subsequently decides upon a standard design.

The robot is built, programmed, and tested before students begin the actual experiment.

An example of what the code could look like is included under solutions.


Evaluation

Class evaluation where students present their results.

In addition, students complete a self-evaluation form.

This evaluation is intended for the students’ own use but can also be used by the teacher in connection with future lessons.

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