Gateway to Technology II – Automation and Robotics Syllabus

The great mushroom hunter

The great mushroom hunter

“In all science, error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last.” ~Hugh Walpole

Learner-in-Chief: Philip McIntosh


Blog: Mister McIntosh Says

Curriculum: Project Lead the Way Automation and Robotics

Required Materials: iPad.

Introduction: Welcome to Gateway to Technology II, a design engineering class for 7th grade. This is the third year for this elective at Challenger Middle school and we are very excited to bring it to you. Please contact me by email with any questions or concerns you may have. If email doesn’t get it done, I will call you. I welcome visitors in the classroom so parents are encouraged to come see what we are doing at any time. My door is almost always open.

Class Rules:

Easy rules. Easy.

Easy rules. Easy.

1) Be nice

2) Try hard

3) Help others

4) Be safe

5) Be brave

Curriculum: The course is built around the Automation and Robotics curriculum developed by Project Lead the Way. Wel use the Vex robotics platform to solve problems using automation and programming. The course previously was a full semester but it has been reduced to a quarter. So, a fair chunk of material has been deleted. It is now divided into two units as follows:

Unit 1. Mechanical Systems – A study and analysis of gear drive systems and the relationship between speed and torque.

Unit 2. Automation and Programming – Learning to use the knowledge and skills obtained regarding mechanical systems to apply the C programming language to construct automated machines to solve practical design engineering problems.

The curriculum has been designed to be iPad friendly. However, the main software tool we will use, RobotC, a powerful C-based programming application, is Windows only and students will have to adapt to storing and moving their work around between different places (Google Docs, iPad, ALEC). Students are able to download and install this program at home for free if they wish.

What is that Minecraft poster doing in there?!

What is that Minecraft poster doing in there?!

Learner Responsibilities: Assignments are posted on ALEC. Grades are posted in Infinite Campus. This year the course is paperless and all assignments will be turned in on the learning management system ALEC (our local custom installation of Moodle). Depending on the assignment, the required turn-in documents may be a PDF or a  photo.

Note: I do not use Showbie and have no plans to since it has been reported that Infinite Campus will not be allowing it to integrate with the grade book.

Learners are more than welcome to work with paper pen and pencil, but all assignments will be turned in electronically.

There won’t be much (if any) homework in this class because of the specialized software and equipment we use. But, assignments will have due dates. Please set up a planner section for the course so you can keep track of your work and plan accordingly. If you cannot complete the required work in class, you should plan on getting a pass from me to come and continue during Cheetah time (home room).

Please check Infinite Campus often to plan your work, set goals, and assess your progress.

Late Work Policy:

There is some flexibility with respect to when things need to get done. If you start to fall behind and are not seeking help, I will enter LATE and then MISSING in the grade book (which is included as a zero for your current grade calculation) for uncompleted assignments. This sends a message home that you are not doing your part.

We want you to do the work so there is no penalty for late submission until the end of the term. If it is missing when all is said and done, it gets converted to a zero. Although I have to admit, if you turn a bunch of things in at the last minute, my grading of it tends to be a little less forgiving.


Classwork: 75%. This is where most of the points are made. Since this is a project-based learning class, do your best on the projects and you should be able to snag most of these points. If your work does not yield as many points as you want it to, you may redo things to improve.

21st Century Skills: 10%. This grade is based on the timeliness of your submissions. For the purposes of this grade, work completed on time earns 2 points, late work is assigned 1 point and missing work nets a 0.  All those additional points are then added up and factored into the overall grade.

Quizzes: 15%. A series of on-line quizzes make up the basis of this grade. Grading is automated. You get the best score out of a maximum of as many attempts as I decide to offer. Usually you will have 4-6 attempts (in class) and the idea is that you learn from each attempt and get a better score each time.

There is a comprehensive on-line final, but it counts for the same proportion of the grade as any other quiz.

There is no extra credit. There is plenty of regular credit available. HOWEVER, if you are done will all the assigned work, you may be allowed to work on other projects that interest you with teacher approval.

I’m looking forward to a great year. See you in class!

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