Driving a robot

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Brief Description: This activity aims to give students a first understanding about the logic behind programming. Students will use oral commands to drive a rover at a distance and get it to its destination. More particularly, students will drive a Mars rover, set out to collect samples from Mars and try to get it to its drilling site.

Author of the activity: Tsourlidaki Eleftheria, eleftheria@ea.gr, Ellinogermaniki Agogi

Subject Domain(s): Environmental sciences – Students will need to study the morphology of the ground in order to drive their rover successfully.
Computer Sciences – Students are introduced to the idea of programming commands.

Connection to the science curriculum:

  • Greece: Elementary school - Ελέγχω και προγραμματίζω:  Χρήση μιας απλής γλώσσας προγραμματισμού (Logo like) για τον έλεγχο και τον προγραμματισμό του υπολογιστή.
    Junior high School - Γνωρίζω τον υπολογιστή ως ενιαίο σύστημα: Γλώσσες προγραμματισμού. Βασικά στάδια επίλυσης προβλήματος με τη χρήση υπολογιστή. Δημιουργία και εκτέλεση προγράμματος.


Links based on the Big Ideas of Science:

  • Universe > Earth and the solar System > Earth and other planets
    This activity is about driving a rover to Mars. Students while driving their rover also get acquainted with the morphology of the planet. They also talk briefly about the orbit of Earth  anf Mars.
  • Extra
    The main objective of this activity is to introduce to students the logic behind programming. Given that programming is behind most machines and equipment in contemporary societies, it is indirectly with all Big Ideas of Science, as people use programmes to monitor processes like transforming energy from one form to theo other, studying organisms and treat deseases, use heavy machinery in mechanics, control nuclear 


Age Range: 10-11, 11-12, 12-13

Didactical Hours: 2 to 3 didactical hours

Links to other activities:

  • Life on Mars (students get samples of soil from their drilling site and test them for life)
  • Trajectories (students learn about trajectories by sending a rover to Mars
  • The Mars mission project activity (a complete activity about sending a rover to Mars to collect samples and test them for life.)


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PLATON is a two-year European project launched on September 2016. It aspires to provide teachers and school communities with a coherent teachers’ training framework which will update their current teaching practices. More particularly, PLATON aims to offer an open and innovative training framework to teachers of primary and secondary education which will focus on:

- Promoting student-centred teaching approaches;

- Promoting a holistic interdisciplinary approach;

- Support the use of online educational tools;

- Support the meaningful collaboration between teachers of the same school.


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