Let`s Rock! :with Python & Lego

We named this lesson “Let`s Rock! :with Python & Lego” because we combine in this lesson programming, robotics, mathematics and music to achieve the main goal: to construct and program two music instruments (a sequencer and a guitar). So, we use an interdisciplinary, S(cience)T(echnology)E(ngineering)A(rts)M(athematics) approach. The Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit will be used for the construction and the programming language Python (the EV3python version) will be used for the programming process. The guitar will be fully functional and can be used to play real songs. During the whole lesson we will follow the Inquiry-based Science Education (IBSE) methodology.

The full lesson plan can be found here

2021-04-27_17-49-39

SUMARY:

  • We implemented this lesson plan during an Erasmus+ project.
  • We did it with a team of seven students.
  • We worked on it for about 8 hours, following approximately the lesson plan
  • We presented our work:
    • in the school
    • to the partners of the project during an international meeting
    • in the 9th students festival of digital creations (annual event in the country)
    • in Patras Science Festival that took place in the region

Our school is partner in the Erasmus+ project “PROBOT – learning PROgramming using roBOTs” (https://probot.smcebi.edu.pl/). it`s a collaboration among six schools (Akademicki Zespół Szkół Ogólnokształcących, Poland / 1 Geniko Lykeio Aigiou, Greece / Istituto d’Istruzione Superiore “Erasmo da Rotterdam”, Italy / Grammar School Jurija Vege Idrija, Slovenia, SOU Jane Sandanski, North Macedonia / KTU Lyceum of Engineering, Kaunas, Lithuania), Edu-Res Foundation, Poland and University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland as leader.

It lasted from 11/2017 till 12/2020. The main goal was to increase innovation and interdisciplinarity of education among 6 secondary schools of partner countries by developing and disseminating 18 educational materials for pupils and 18 for teachers on the use of robot programming for STEM education. The platform we used was Lego Mindstorms, the Operating System was EV3Dev and the Programming Language was EV3Python. Each school developed three full lesson plans and translated the other fifteen. All lesson plans, in seven different languages can be found here: https://probot.smcebi.edu.pl/learning-resources.

After the group of the students was established we (the teachers) recorded the existing knowledge of the students in a] music theory, b] playing music instruments, c] lego robotics and d] programming in Python. We noticed that it was a mixed group.

We started the project following approximately this lesson plan and the activities as described in it (page 4):

  • We studied frequency and period (with the help of the 1st worksheet)
  • We exercised ourselves in Audacity (with the help of the 2nd worksheet). Students enjoyed that because they realized that Audacity could be useful for them also outside lesson.
  • It was then time to start using Lego. Following the 3rd worksheet we make all the necessary initializations and then
  • we constructed our first music instrument, the sequencer, as described in the 4th worksheet. Students enjoyed it. A hands-on task is always fun, especially here where it is combined with music (we know very well that teenagers love music). When it was constructed and programmed, they tried to compose their own melodies.
  • Then students started to occupy themselves with the main task: the construction and program of the guitar (5th worksheet). The guitar model is initially made by Daniele Benedettelli, as mentioned in the worksheet. It is true that students were expecting this task from the beginning. They thought it would be fun and, indeed, they enjoyed the whole process. They found some difficulties in programming because Python is not in the curriculum, but with their general knowledge in programming and with teachers` help they managed to complete all tasks! It was time for them to delight themselves and we left them play with the guitar and have some relaxed moments.

The guitar in action:

and the sequencer:

A few days after the implementation of this lesson plan, we asked the students to fill in the students` feedback. The (translated) answers we received are here.

After the implementation of the lesson plan, we were sure that students really increased their knowledge in a way that was not tiring for them but, instead, they enjoyed the whole project and they would dare to get involved with other demanding projects in the future. A second conclusion we arrived is that the instruments the students constructed helped them realize that robots are not only humanoids or vehicles! Robots can be found in many forms, they can be useful in many activities

Photos/videos of the implementation/dissemination of the lesson can be found in the lesson plan (Appendix E, page 20) and in the site of the school about:

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