Introduction to Robotics - Entering Descartes’ World


The Cartesian coordinate system, invented by the 17th century mathematician, Rene Descartes, showed a way to connect Geometry and Algebra. This lesson will take you on a journey into Descartes’ world and teach you to understand this world, navigate it, and master it with MathBot.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Learn to locate points and specify locations in the cartesian plane
  • Navigate, plan, and reflect upon trajectories of a robot in a static environment
  • Learn about powers of 10
  • Learn about geometric shapes

Mathematics Florida Standards (MAFS) Grade 5

MAFS.F.OA.1.1; MAFS.F.OA.1.2; MAFS.F.MD.1.1; MAFS.F.G.1.1; MAFS.F.G.1.2; MAFS.F.G.2.3; MAFS.F.G.2.4;


Teacher Setup:
  • Set up a 4x4 grid on floor using the masking tape. Each square should measure 1x1 foot.
  • Separate the classroom into teams of 4 students.
  • Ask each team to create a secret message (sentence) containing 8 words in total (including articles and prepositions).
  • On 8 sticky notes, write one word of the secret sentence per note on the sticky side.
  • For each sticky note, write the following numbers in that order on the non-sticky side:
  • 7x101 , 1x102 , 30x101 , 9x102 , 3x104 , 5x104 , 7x105 , 2x102
  • For remaining grid squares, write random numbers in base 10 (different than the ones above) with no words written down on the non-sticky side, leaving one square empty for the MathBot to start in.
Student Teams' Preliminary Tasks (Robot Independent):
  • Sort numbers in ascending order:
  • 7x101 , 1x102 , 30x101 , 9x102 , 3x104 , 5x104 , 7x105 , 2x102
  • Identify each one of these numbers in the grid by their row and column. For example, number 7x101 is at column 1, row 2.
  • Once you have the row and column of each number in the grid, plan a trajectory for the robot to follow. For example, if the robot starts at position (0,1), where 0 is the column and 1 is the row, and the next location to be visited is column 1, row 2, your robot can perform the two of the following trajectories:
Student Teams' Robotic Tasks (Robot Dependent):
  • Program the team’s MathBot to pause on the correct number on the grid in sorted order.
  • For each pause of the MathBot, the word on the back of the sticky note is used to reconstruct the secret message.
  • The secret message reconstructed by the team is then verified against the correct message.