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Lesson overview

In the third lesson of this unit of work, your class will learn about the role of mapping in autonomous vehicles. They will then be challenged to make their robot vehicle follow a path using new hardware and software. Students will learn about how the line follower sensor on the mBot works, then use the sensor data and logic-based code to autonomously control their robots. Finally, they will relate this activity to real world driverless vehicles and discuss the other sensors needed to make driving efficient and safe.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand why mapping is important for programming autonomous cars
  • Describe functions carried out by software and hardware
  • Describe how a line follower functions
  • Apply logic to get a robot to follow a defined path
  • Debug programs
  • Identify and discuss ways of solving the same problem under different conditions

Lesson steps

  1. Video opener (5 mins)
    An introduction to mapping, the video will set this lesson’s challenge: to make the robot follow a path.
  2. Classroom discussion (10 mins)
    Students will discuss the video. How do humans know which way to go? How do we know where we are? How do we teach robots to know which way to go?
  3. Make (25 mins)
    Introduction to the line follower hardware and how to control it with code. Define and follow ‘rules of the road’ using table-based code.
  4. Test (10 mins)
    Test the robot moves as expected.
  5. Reflect (10 mins)
    Students will reflect on their learning, including problems they had and how they solved them. They will then discuss how different road conditions might affect the robot and how this might affect the code.

Equipment required (per group)

  • mBot
  • Laptop or tablet with mBlock
  • Black tape e.g. insulating tape
  • Access to a light / white surface for practice
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