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Ozobot Block Coding Challenges

Ozobots are small robots. If they are not programmed otherwise, they follow lines and respond to coloured codes drawn on paper. They can also be programmed by flashing light into their optical sensors (from the screen of a computer or tablet). The tutorial at https://ozoblockly.com/ will help the instructor get familiar with the basics.

This series of challenges emphasizes the following Computational Thinking skills:

  • Abstraction – representing complex behaviour as a series of code blocks
  • Logical reasoning – “if I use this code, the ozobot will behave this way”
  • Algorithms – combining code blocks to create a multi-step process
  • Evaluation – comparing expected behaviour to results, debugging code
  • Decomposition – creating a “dance”, or following a multi-step path by defining each step separately.
     

Objectives

  • Using tablets and/or laptops, students will use block coding to control the behaviour of an ozobot, working towards creating their own ozobot “dance”.

Materials

  • General Supplies:
    scrap paper and pencils (optional)
    Ozobot charging station
    computer with projector or smartboard
    extension cords

  • Per Pair of Students:
    1 tablet or laptop connected to Ozoblockly.com
    1 Ozobot Bit
    Download Ozobot Block Coding challenge cards

Key Questions

  • What are some challenges or successes that you experienced?
  • What did you do when you got stuck or your code didn’t work?
  • What can you learn from something that “doesn’t work”?
  • How do you know whether the change you made affected the outcome?
  • Why is it important to test often?
  • Did you find the roles of coder and loader helpful? Where would you use these skills (teamwork, coding, computational thinking) outside of this activity?

What To Do

Ground Rules:

No water/drinks near computers or Ozobots
No running near or with computers or Ozobots
Lift the Ozobot up when moving it. Do not push Ozobots along table/carpet (it will break the Ozobot motors) or allow them to “spin their wheels” while running into the wall, etc.

Advance Preparation:

  • Make sure screen brightness is set at 100% and battery is well charged. Many laptops will need to be plugged in to keep the screen bright enough. If you’re not sure, test – this has been our greatest source of frustration!
  • Connect each device to Ozoblockly (www.ozoblockly.com, click on “get started”). Make sure you are on “bit” and Level 2. Clear any old code off the screen into the trash.

SET UP: 

  • Set-up the computer and projector or smartboard.
  • Load Ozoblockly website for your introduction. (Keep in mind: your demo on the projector screen will not actually code the Ozobot.)
  • Identify space for each pair of students to work with one tablet or computer and one Ozobot; students will work in pairs.
  • Scrap paper and pencils should be available for students to use if needed.

Depending on the experience and confidence of the group, you might choose to work through the challenges together, or to have the students work independently after Challenge 1. We have found it incredibly helpful to walk through the “flashing” process very explicitly before setting the students loose on more complex challenges.

INTRODUCTION:

Introduce Pair Programming ground rules:

Students should work in pairs with one computer or tablet per pair.  Explain the division of roles:

  • Coder (/Programmer): operates the computer/tablet and taps out the code you and your partner BOTH agree on.
  • Loader (/Tester): loads the code on to the Ozobot and tests it out on the table.

Partners will switch roles after every challenge.

Show Ozoblockly on the projector screen; note that you have selected Bit (the ozobot model) and Level 2.

Show the different menu options, and demonstrate how to drag code onto the dashboard and click the blocks together:

  1. Movement: This tells your Ozobot different motions to complete… circles, zig zags, snake skates, and more.
    1.  When you find a block you want, tap it and it will appear on your dashboard.
    2. You can tap any of these words to change the code into what you want. It starts with “medium” speed, but maybe you want “very fast!” It starts with 1 second of movement, but maybe you want 5 seconds. There are lots of options to explore for your Ozobot’s movement.
  2. Light Effects: This changes the appearance of your Ozobot!
    1. There are lots of options for color changes like fireworks and disco, or you can choose one color you like
  3. Timing: If you want pauses in your code, “Timing” tells your Ozobot to wait __ seconds before doing the next bit of code.
  4. Loops: Finally, “Loops” tells your Ozobot how many times you want to repeat the whole set of instructions. 5 Times? Or, Over and over again forever!

The Ozobot can only listen to one set of instructions at a time, so there should be no floating bits of code on your dashboard. Everything has to be neatly stacked together. Throw out unwanted code in the trash can on the bottom right hand corner.

ACTIVITY:

Introduce Challenge 1: Colour and scoot

Coder: choose a light effects block and a movement block. Drag them onto the dashboard and click them together.
Loader, follow along and do as I do:

To load your code onto the Ozobot, tap ‘Flashing’ and your screen will then look like this [show on screen]
Turn on the Ozobot with one click of its power button on the side, and set the Ozobot onto the screen, placing the wheels on top of the white Ozobot shape.
With the Ozobot still on the screen, tap ‘Load Bit.’ The Ozobot should begin flashing GREEN. Wait until the load bar is finished moving before removing the Ozobot from the screen. [If it’s not flashing green, tap cancel and start again.]
Once you’re done loading, double click your Ozobot’s button to see it perform the new code!

Challenge 1A: Colour and Scoot again

Switch coder and loader roles. Delete the code you just wrote.
Coder: choose a light effects block and a movement block and click them together
Loader: load the code onto the ozobot and double click to see it perform.
Depending on the experience and confidence of the group, you may choose to have students work at their own pace through the remaining challenges. See challenge cards for details.

Challenge 2: The repeater.  Code your ozobot to repeat a series of moves 4 times

Challenge 3: Square dance. Code your ozobot to walk in a square

Challenge 4: From here to there. Code your ozobot to visit the dots in order.

Challenge 5: Show your moves. Code your ozobot to do a dance.

Bring all the ozobots to a common table. Play some music, and set the bots dancing all together!

Other Resources

Science World |  Field trip workshops and outreach programs  | Tech Up

Ozobot | 7 Ozobot Lessons to Adapt for Virtual Learning at Home

Ozoblocky | more block coding challenges | games.ozoblockly.com

Support facilitating activities with ozobots | Learn to Code Getting Started with Ozoblockly and Ozobot Bit robot