About the Unit 6 Best Practices category


Use this space to share your best practices and ideas for Unit 6 in the ECS curriculum.


Have I missed the Unit 6 PD for the Orange Count CA cohort? I noticed the Unit 6 PD was released. This type of release usually follows the Saturday sessions… Matt


Hi Matt

The Unit 6 Online PD should be out by the end of the week. You will receive an email when it is officially live.

Thanks for checking in



I’m having my students present to the elementary school around the corner–this helps gets my students engaged as the teachers who must deeply understand the objectives to be able to present them in engaging, interactive, and accessible way.


We used two types of robots for this unit–EV3 and Finch. I didn’t give much guidance in how to use either robot. Students did an assessment at the end in which both robots had to complete the same maze/obstacle course. Students answered a few questions on working with both types of robots.

I was surprised that most students liked working with the Finch better. I believe this is because they used Java and a program we spent more time learning. The EV3 software was easy to use at first look, but became complicated, quickly.

The Finch robots were not as dependable when it came to movement…sometimes when programmed for 100 for the left and right wheels, the robot would still venture to one direction or another.

It was good for the students to see two different robots operate out of two different programs.


Here is my challenge response:
My class will not have time to complete Unit 6, so I will not be doing the challenge for Unit 6. There will be a class final, as mandated by my school, but it will only cover the units covered in class, which will be 1-5.


We do not have the budget for the robot kits so instead we have done some CS unplugged activities such as the one where the students are the robots and the programmers and the programmers have to write instructions for the student “robot” to follow to stack the cups correctly. If we have time before finals then we will also do a popular college robot experiment challenge called the crappy robot challenge where students find inexpensive robotic toys such as the little pigs that walk and oink and use other miscellaneous materials to engineer their own hybrid robot that will then compete in a wrestling match with the other teams’ robots. The robots will try to push the challenging robot out of the wrestling ring. They will match off in pairs until only two are left for the final challenge. The winner will receive extra bonus points on their group project!


I had to combine unit 5 and 6 together to finish out the year. At the high school things get crazy with all the state testing, seniors graduate early, SAT, Spring sports (golf, tennis, track, softball, baseball, etc.)… so many interruptions to ever really concentrate on things. So the example I am doing is what I have already done. I found out that the Lego Mindstorms EV3 package didn’t line up with the projects I had already planned out. So we had to modify everything. It actually worked out for the best! Students really had to work together to collaborate and make things unique versus following the Lego setups and how to build the robots. The Robots I wanted students to build that were within our program on our computers didn’t match up with the parts that came in our Education Set. So everyone added parts and built with modifications and what they thought would work.

It was fun to gather the data that went along with their robots so we could all observe the differences in their creations.

Attached is my Lesson plans and Standards I could find that fit with all we put together.
unit 5 and 6 together


We aren’t doing robots this year so I’m planning to have the students create eportfolios. The Tech director in our district is beyond amazing. She has extensive knowledge regarding developing eportfolios and is willing to share her knowledge with my class.
To start, I am going to give pairs specific things to look at on her website about eportfolios. I will have them summarize their findings (not specifically WHAT is there but what TOPICS she has information about.) Everyone will spend time perusing her information so we are familiar with it when she visits. This harkens back to the lessons about the trustworthiness of websites.
Next, we will develop a few idea about what she will be presenting, such as a list of steps for developing an eportfolio and the decisions we have to make. This will refresh us on the steps to problem solving.
When the Tech Director visits, hopefully we will be able to ask good questions, using solid inquiry methods.
After that, we will be following her steps, making decisions, programming the websites, collecting our items for “display” etc. All of these tasks have been represented in our curriculum and we will revisit the best practices for each in turn.
I am excited about this process because the kids will be able to take their portfolios with them (they can transfer their sites to a generic gmail account once they leave us.) I hope that this artifact follows them through their lives and careers!
Here is the link to our amazing Tech Directors info: https://sites.google.com/site/eportfolioapps/overview


We don’t have robots in class, so we have started studying the definition of a robot, the students provided their own first, then we came up with one as a class. We also studied what robots can and can not do. We also studied how to put robots together and determined if all robots are built the same. Finally, we will build a robot from household materials together as a final project.


Day 1 What is a robot and what makes a computer robotic?

To make sure students understand this question. I would have students to write and explain what they think a robot is and how it relates to a computer.


This is my first time teaching the ECS class and will not get to unit 6, nor do we have robots, however for the Unit 6 challenge I am looking ahead to next year to see how I can combine unit 2 and 5 in some ways to open up some space for unit 6. At the very least, we can complete days 1-3, and use some of the virtual links to help apply the understanding.


Have your students received some Java training before applying it to the robots?


We bought 3 Lego EV3 robots for a class of 25 students. I divided the class in groups of 4 to build the different components. Students program individually using NXT software in their laptops, and test plugging the robots. It is a slow process, but it works.


Unit 6 Challenge Activity

Because the students have an opportunity to build robots in middle school, I decided to do Video Game Design for unit 6. My school purchased Game Maker Studio…it is $50 per computer so is very reasonable. The students were able to expand on what they learned during the programming unit as they programmed their avatar to run through a maze. Students also worked on creativity by adding extra challenges to their games.

You can visit my classroom website at http://www.edline.net/pages/Lakes_High_School/Classes/MsUlen/Assignments/Unit_6__x3a__Video_Game_Design to see the tutorial the kids followed along with screenshots from the game I created with them.


We do not have the budget for robots so I decided to teach using the concept of Karel J Robot in Greenfoot. Students will learn Java while manipulating a robot in a world made up of only streets and avenues. They will have beepers and walls that can be used to create mazes, barriers, and complete tasks assigned.


Challenge-Unit6_Greenfoot.docx (114.3 KB)


Unit 6 Challenge Activity: Alternative to Day 14

We did an alternative assignment to the robot tic-tac-toe. Ill include that as my Unit 6 challenge.


These documents include the approach used for Unit 6, as well as reference to resources by Damien Kee that were quite useful.
Overview and Approach to Unit 6: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5dlsXhnuqs_S2V6ZF9QemJkemM
Adaptation of two assignments for the EV3 robots: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5dlsXhnuqs_QmlXbFVyWlZ1YXc


Yes, throughout the semester Java is incorporated into what is taught.