Bowling with Dash!
Have you ever seen a robot bowl? Well I have and here's how it all started!
Right after Christmas, I was strolling through Target, and stumbled upon a child's plastic bowling set on clearance. Thoughts of using Dash to hit the bowling ball popped into my head and suddenly the set was in my cart! Note: I did end up replacing the plastic bowling balls that came with the set with some dog toys from the pet store. The ones from the set were easily dented.
I decided I would try having a bowling "tournament" with my 4th and 5th graders. I had the kids start by pairing up. I also thought about having the kids in bigger groups so they would have more chances to bowl. I ended up going with pairs, so the kids could have more hands on time with the iPad and robot.
Next, I modeled what the bowling might look like by using code to try and get Dash to hit the ball into the pins and knock some down. My code didn't get any pins, but it did give the kids ideas of what they could do.
Dash and the ball have to start on or behind the start line.
Dash can't touch the pins or the cloth under the pins. It would be too easy to just have Dash knock pins down.
Each pair of students gets two tries at a time.
I used a Google Sheet to keep track of how many pins each group knocked down. I would love to set something up for more formal bowling scoring, but just keeping track of the pins was good enough for the kids.
The Bowling Genius site would also be a great way to keep track of scores, especially if you had time for a full game!
This was a fun way to practice coding and problem solving skills. The kids were constantly revising their codes to knock down more pins and be extra creative. There was even one group who tried having Dash drive backwards into the ball to see if that would work!
Could you code a strike? ;)