Robot Build Ideas for RoboCup Junior Australia Rescue Line Competition, using LEGO

RoboCup Junior Australia Rescue Line

RoboCup Junior Australia is a project-oriented educational initiative that supports local, regional and international robotic events for young students. The main difference between this and many other robot competitions is that it is platform independent and doesn’t require you to use a particular technology. That said, I will discuss the use of LEGO to build robots.
1.1.2 Primary Rescue Line: The robot must navigate to the scene, find and rescue the Victim by pushing or dragging (control) the Victim out of the chemical spill.
1.1.3 Secondary Rescue Line: The robot must navigate to the chemical spill and rescue the Victim by controlling the Victim and then maneuvering and leaving it outside of the chemical spill in its original orientation. The robot must then save itself by exiting the chemical spill via the ‘Spill Access Point’. [ Official RCJA Rescue Line Rules 2019 (KBTC).pdf]

The Problem Solving Process

This article is part of a series of articles around integrating Robocup into the curriculum. I will solve the problem of building a robot that satisfies the needs and requirements of the Robocup Junior Australia Rescue Line Competition, using part of the process below. If you want to link my solution to assessment, see Robotics Education Scope and Sequence 5-8


Coding BBC Micro:bit using MicroPython

I have previously used the excellent Introduction the Computer Science course and have recently discovered that there is a MicroPython version, maintained by Carl Lyman. I wanted to cover the ACARA Digital Technologies Knowledge and Understanding: Investigate the role of hardware and software in managing, controlling and securing the movement of and access to data in networked digital systems (ACTDIK034). For this, I found another excellent resource: Networking with Microbit.

I have mashed all these resources together, to pitch at a year 9 class in 2020. I will only see this class for 140 minutes a week, so I have compressed quite a lot. If I have an extra 70 mins, then I would have included all innovation mini-projects and completed the Networking book. If you have the time, I would add these in. The assessment is an exam, because I do projects all the rest of the year and I need them to be prepared for exams in 11-12.  Hopefully, you can figure out where I have mapped the exit ticket questions in by the WALTS.


Microbit with MicroPython, PDF or OneNote

These and more goodies can be accessed here:


RoboCup Soccer with EV3 and MakeCode Mindstorms

RoboCup Soccer

Next year, Lego Mindstorms coding will be no more; to be replaced by a scratch-like coding environment. My students are about to finish the First Lego League season and will be looking for the next challenge to work on. Now is a good time to transition them to a block-based coding environment. As the new Mindstorms is not available, I am going with MakeCode.

I have already made RoboCup Rescue Line resources available as PDF or OneNote. I have just finished whipping something up for RoboCup Soccer. It comes with the caveat that I have not beta-tested it with students and my logic may be all over the place. Also, the MakeCode API does not have blocks for the HiTechnic sensors, so LEGO Infared and Gyro sensors are used instead. This has resulted in significantly different solution algorithms. The resource is available as PDF or OneNote.

RoboCup Rescue Line with MakeCode Mindstorms and LEGO EV3

MakeCode Mindstorms and LEGO EV3

The current version of Mindstorms is going to be replaced with a Scratch-based version, mid 2020, so I thought I would get the jump on preparations for RoboCup Junior by using MakeCode for Mindstorms.

I have only developed a curriculum for RoboCup Rescue Line and the rest will follow when my clone has the time to spare. I have only desk-checked my algorithms, so please send me corrections and modifications. I figure that reasonable logic errors can only spur deeper learning as students prove their resilience through multiple prototyping cycles.

My thanks go to the following sources, as I have only edited their insights together and re-interpreted them for Makecode:


The OneNote or PDF can be found here:

STEM Invention with SAM Labs

I recently was lent a SAM Labs kit from MTA, so I decided to design a unit for an upcoming STEM class. I normally beta test these with students before I blog, but I couldn’t wait to make these available, and maybe you can give it a go.

The unit is wide open, with a lot of work in having students identifying a problem that needs to be solved or how life can be improved with some kind of IOT device. While this has always been my dream, its probably only for the brave and perhaps a hackathon in a restricted context is wiser.

I have also used Blockly via Workbench, which is starting to complement Makecode nicely. The standard environment for SAM Labs is their proprietary App which is a node-based coding environment.

The unit also uses Agile project management and team problem solving for all those 21st Century soft skills. These are also mapped into both the Digital and Design Technologies syllibi.

The unit can be downloaded as a Onenote or PDF and other goodies are available on the DigTech page.


Makecode Mindstorms EV3

I have previously blogged my Makecode fandom and now I have played with LEGO Mindstorms. I must note that very soon LEGO will be replacing their EV3 lab software with EV3 classroom, which will be based on scratch. The good news will be that the learning resources for Makecode can be easily ported to Scratch and vice versa. Therefore, the unit that I have developed should be pretty sustainable, no matter which platform you end up using.

I have uploaded, both a Onenote and PDF of a unit that takes students through the basic and then has them managing a team project for a Sumo bot challenge. I also have the EV3 lab versions in Onenote and PDF. These and other goodies are available on the DigTech page.


Minecraft Education Edition Remixed

I have blogged previously about my love of all things MakeCode and one of my favourites is coding in Minecraft. Recently, I have remixed the lessons from Minecraft Education Edition to fit them to my context.

I have remixed ‘Coding with Minecraft‘, for year 7, with a portfolio of tasks as assessment:

My other mix, drawn from Intro to CS with MakeCode, is for a year 11 Applied ICT class with a project as assessment:

NOTE: The latest updates, revisions and OneNote files may be found in the DigTech Resources menu link above

Game Design with GDevelop

There are a few options for learning and developing pure 2D game design, without being bogged down in coding: Construct2, Construct3, Gamemaker. I can recommend Construct 2 and the free version has few limitations. The others have a price attached and are probably worth it if you have the budget to spare.

I thought I would give a new player a go in my ICT Applied class. Below is my Unit and resources:

NOTE: The latest updates, revisions and OneNote files may be found in the DigTech Resources menu link above

Creative Coding with Blocks

Why Blocks?

The Digital Technologies Syllabus emphasizes designing algorithms, testing, evaluating and refining them. I find block-based coding environments very effective for this. I also developed this workshop for years 5-6, so text-based coding is not stressed particularly.

The limitations of Scratch, also, only serves to emphasize the validity of text-based coding as the destination. For example, Scratch does not have For loops, so Repeat Until loops need to be utilized; and then there is no > than or = to facility. This workshop is all about turtle graphics, but there is no fill block or function; necessitating turtle python or processing.

Why Creative?

Logo (for those old enough to remember) was my first introduction to programming and it really got me hooked; so I’m hoping it does the same for my students.

I also purchased a Makelangelo Art Robot as one way to output their designs. I also plan on 3D printing, Laser and CNC Etching and Machine Embroidery with Inkstitch. Maybe I will get back with the results.

Here is the Workshop, enjoy!


NOTE: The latest updates, revisions and OneNote files may be found in the DigTech Resources menu link above