Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Drive through the Zoo: Learning about Angles using Pro-Bot

My child's class started learning about angles about a week ago. And the teacher requested me to design an exercise for Pro-Bot that will introduce the idea of angles. As the kids are very new to the concept, I wanted to keep this one fairly simple, while still using a mix of acute, obtuse and right angles.

A trip to the zoo is almost always part of our field trips every school year. The zoo in our city happens to have buses that drive along the various points of interest/ themed animal enclosures. I felt that the turns made by the bus in this familiar setting of the zoo, might be a good way to introduce angles.

In this exercise, a scaled down version of the bus route, provides the path for Pro-Bot to drive on. As the Bot drives along the path, it is required to make angular turns at each point. I have provided the angular measurements required in degrees and distances in centimeters. The bus travels in a loop, the directions are shown using arrows. Note that the map below is not drawn to scale.

Based on the above map, write a program for Pro-Bot to drive along the following paths, assuming that the Pro-Bot is facing in the forward direction:
  1. The path from the Entrance of the zoo to the African Savanah. How many turns did the Pro-Bot make? Were the angles acute, obtuse or right angles?
  2. To continue from the African Savanah (where you stopped before), to the Elephants enclosure, how many degrees did the Pro-Bot turn? 
  3. Program the path from the African Savanah to the Raptors. How many turns did the Pro-Bot make? Were the angles acute, obtuse or right angles?
  4. Continue the path from the Raptors to the Kids' Play Area. Did you use acute, obtuse or right angles for the turns?
Alternatively, the kids can be asked to program the entire bus route as a single program, marking the types of angles used along the way.

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