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Human Robots (CS27)

Learning Scenario Identity
TitleJYU7: Human Robots
Length90 minutes (2×45 minutes)
Main idea/descriptionStudents give written directions for their pairs. The idea of the exercise is that students learn how to give simple and unambiguous instructions. Instructions have to be given in a certain order, or the human robot won’t do the task correctly.
Target group3rd-6th grade
Curriculum/learning subjectsMathematics, Physical Education
CompetenciesThe students learn why precise and unambiguous instructions are important and understand that instructions must come in a certain order, otherwise the robot will not be able to complete the task (use of common language and unambiguous words). The students learn simple principles of programming languages, the idea of ​​conditional sentences in programming and debugging.
Teachers’ wellness competencesTC4. Social e-competency
Learning Scenario Framework
Pedagogical methodPI3. Enforcing attention and Awareness (Be attentive and aware)
Software/materialsFor this scenario, it would be optimal if the students were able to see one another (e.g., through web cam). However, it is also possible to introduce reflection to the tasks and make the robot ‘self aware’, meaning that they can give error messages to the person giving the instructions (e.g., ‘Command wash hand failed, reason: tap not open’). In this situation, visuals are not necessarily needed.
The teacher should also have access to a conferencing tool to enable teacher-student and student-student interaction. It is also good if the teacher has the ability to assign rooms for groups and visit the groups. 
For the online execution, ensure that the instructions are clear and easy to understand since the teacher might not be able to monitor all students in real time. Use visual aids or demonstrations to enhance understanding, starting with one-step exercises. You can relate the exercise to real-life scenarios where clear instructions are vital, such as making a sandwich or assembling a toy.
The assignment can be exiting for students. You can introduce short breaks between different parts of the session. This could involve a brief physical activity or a quiet, mindful moment to help students reset and refocus. It can also be helpful to initially use simpler tasks for the ‘robot’ to perform. Gradually increase the complexity as the students become more comfortable with the exercise. This gradual escalation can help in maintaining a low-stress environment.
Evaluation toolsThe teacher observes the pairs as they start to work on the assignment. The teacher also follows the discussions after each assignment.
Learning Scenario Implementation
Learning activities (description, duration, worksheets)Students work in pairs. Students come up with some task that the robot will perform. One student writes the instructions to the robot and the robot follows the instructions as they are written. For example, the task may be to lift the book off the floor on the other side of the classroom.
Students are told about the principles of programming languages ​​(Appendix 1) and how the language they use should be so unambiguous that the machine cannot misunderstand it in any way. The lesson exercise is introduced to the students and together they discuss how the instructions could be communicated to the other student as accurately and unambiguously as possible. Students should be reminded that the robot should follow the instructions completely and accurately.

Exercise 1
Students are paired, one being a programmer and the other a robot. The programmer decides what he wants the robot to do. For example, a robot may be tasked with getting up from a chair, locating a book, opening it (from a specific page), etc. The instruction assumes the student is sitting, so first the robot is told to get up, lift their hand, put their hand on the book, flip through pages x times, and, for example, read aloud the 3rd sentence on the final page. Of course, the instructions do not immediately produce a result, and the robot can end up not being able to locate a book. The goal is to correct the instructions and try again until most of the class is successful in the task.
After the students have tried the robot programming, the students are divided into groups to reflect the task. This encourages more participation and allows students to learn from each other’s experiences. The teacher supports the discussions by visiting each group.
Facilitating questions: 
– Was the guidance successful? 
– What was difficult about programming? 
– Did the robot just obey the instructions or did he “help” the programmer by interpreting the instructions?
– Did the robot do as it was told by the programmer? 
– What was difficult being a robot? Why was it difficult to get the message across? 
– Could the programming of the robot be made easier by giving the conditional sentence instead of the exact number of steps: “If you cannot locate a book, return to the starting position”?

Exercise 2
The same pairs continue, but they change roles. Usually, the second time is immediately faster and it is easier for students to communicate movements because of more precise terms. The teacher can observe that each group tries to use the conditional sentence at least once. Once students understand how to do the easy tasks, they can do more difficult tasks or even make the robot jump with one leg as part of the journey.
If some students finish early: Allow students to come up with their own tasks for the robot. This can make the exercise more fun and engaging, reducing stress.

Closing discussion
Once every student has been a programmer and a robot, the exercise can be completed. Usually, however, this takes a couple of hours to comfortably. After the exercises, students can discuss together how the exercise went. The teacher can still remind that computers need complete instructions that can only be understood in a certain way.

Appendix 1
Programming languages ​​work at different levels. The simplest languages ​​are so-called assembly languages ​​and they are different on different hardware. They control the placement of numbers in memory addresses or add them together. Higher-level programming languages ​​automate assembly language production and can be used to write programs on any machine. The most modern languages ​​are almost like English and the machine can automatically interpret it into a format that the computer can understand.
Programs are often written with dedicated programming programs (IDE, Integrated Development Environment) that can be used to test the code and suggest improvements to the written program code.
Computers are very sensitive to instructions and cannot interpret what a commander means unless he or she says exactly what he or she wants. Sometimes a program is accidentally programmed to rotate the perimeter, and the computer does not understand how to get out of it. The program will only continue and continue rotating until it is turned off.