Keep it simple
Simpler is a better way to start out. Arduino can most likely do everything BX-24 can do but in a C-like language – that is the good news for people already know C but for me, teaching 10-12 year old kids, or anyone new to programming for that matter.
Basic is, well, basic, more intuitive and easier to make the transition from B(asic) to ‘C’.
I think that giving complex solutions and explaining why they work is backwards. I prefer to lead my students to what I want them to discover and I am frequently surprised by new solutions they come up with that I hadn’t thought of.
It is better to accept a new, possibly less efficient solution that a student has discovered than to take away the sense of accomplishment and wonder by showing them an elegant solution and explaining why it works. My criteria are, how well do my students understand the language and how rapidly can they learn to write code to cause their robots to do what they want them to do.
Dueling Platforms: I will continue to program my new Arduino Pro Micro until I can accomplish all of the tasks I currently do with the PIC and the BX-24. Then I will have the non-destructive robot battles, line following, Sumo and Table-top navigation, between platforms. It’s kind of like the difference between boomerangs and Frisbees – I can challenge myself to a robot battle, moving each platform ahead as each one gains an advantage over the other . I will update you on my progress.
David Peins teaches children as young as eight years old to read schematics, create working circuits on breadboards, program embedded controllers with MikroBasic and to program their own autonomous mobile robots to play ‘Robot Sumo.’
Teaching robotics to kids
Taking kids on a Robodyssey
Teacher's corner: circuit building for kids
SparkFun electronics training for kids
SparkFun to host "Introduction to Arduino" workshop