Robotics in Computer Science

Penrice Academy is fully embracing the Computer Science Curriculum through the use of a ‘mini Mars Rover’.

Following the introduction of Computer Science and programming to the school curriculum, students in Year 9 and 10 now have the opportunity to engage in robotics in their Computer Science lessons, through use of a mini robot controlled by their iPads.

Computer Science Teacher at Penrice, Mark Adams, explained: “It works by using a mini computer with an SD card as a hard drive. The SD card contains the instructions which the computer follows, and this connects wirelessly to the students’ iPads, in turn allowing them to follow it around the school – much like how NASA would monitor the Mars Rover as it examines rocks.”

The school has recently invested in 30 Raspberry Pie computers to allow students to expand on their experience in robotics and their knowledge of programming. The lessons look at how programming instructions can be used to create a robot that resembles the Mars Rover, and students have been learning about Python Programming, which is the language used to instruct it.

David Parker, Principal at Penrice Academy, said: “Robotics and computing are fast growing job sectors and there is currently a skills shortage.  Penrice believes in making sure our students leave with the skills and knowledge they need for the 21st Century.”

As well as looking at how programming can be used in a robotics context, the robot gives students the chance to utilise their iPads, which continue to be a fantastic learning resource.

Mr Adams continued: “We endeavour to ensure our students are prepared for our future world and computer programming is going to be an increasingly major part of that world. I have been inspired to see our students embrace the new Computer Science curriculum with such enthusiasm.”