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MSP - Game Design and Robotics - Teaching Assistant Page

Hi TA's! This page will have my notes for each day's activities 8-)

Day 8

NOTE: You three keep track of the Lego situation. You'll need to explain to the next instructor the “organization” system that we have right now.


  • Pickup: 12:30pm Lakeside Dining
  • Destination: Computer History Museum, 1401 N. Shoreline, Mountain View
  • Lunches: No
  • Return: Leave for Stanford @ 3:30

If you have trouble locating your bus for pickup at Stanford or your return trip, please contact the Destination Systems dispatch at 650-863-4235. Additionally, please be sure that your cell phone is fully charged and turned on if you are the bus supervisor.

If you have any questions, do feel free to contact me.

Thank you,

  • Kellie Trauner
  • Program Assistant
  • Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies
  • Ventura Hall, Room 1
  • (650) 724-9569

Day 7 - Notes

Make sure you know how to build LeJOS projects. Directions are in the assignment.

Part 1 is the Explorer. Part 2 is the Arm.

  • Robot arms are the in the BLUE BINS
  • Kevin should have code for the Arm for them to debug.

Please read the special story I creatively just wrote up about this:

“It is a frigidly cold and wintery night. You wake up in the middle of the forest and there is an old shack. When you walk into the shack, you realize that the power still works when you are able to turn on the lights. In the corner of the room, you find what seems to be a broken robotic arm connected to a computer. You manage to put the arm back together and turn it on. It seems to be doing random and nonsensical things. You turn on the computer to find Eclipse running. It appears that the project for the robotic arm is the first thing on the screen. Being the robot expert that you are, your mission is to figure out what's wrong with the arm and bring it back to life.”

Errors for the BumperCar code is here:

  • Button.waitForPress(); should be Button.waitForAnyPress();
  • Button.ESCAPE.isPressed(); should be Button.ESCAPE.isDown();

Day 6 - Recap

As long as the next instructor wants to build the same robot, we will keep these the way they are.

No more website maintainence. Just continue to give student evals here:

You three administer the student survey. Tomorrow afternoon, if able.

Kevin is working on writing code for the second robot.

If we need more robot parts, then someone go to KA to get them for tomorrow.

The syllabus schedule is finalized (mostly).

Day 6 - Notes

Bring all legos here that aren't being used already.

Journaling first. Build the explorer next.

Break the class into lego groups.

Day 5 - Recap

Everyone seemed a bit exhausted Day 5. Especially, you guys!

Here's my weekend to do list:

  • Make student evaluation forms on google
  • Start student evals
  • Finish a Mindstorms project
  • Charge all robots
  • Get ziplock bags and masking tape / marker
  • I'm sending an email with some of the issues that students are having to Christine

Here're your instructions:

Notes for future instructors: Probably, my assignments were a bit too complex and could be simpler. Friday is actually the best day for building legos, b/c they are so tired. I ramped up the challenge too quickly, b/c I was trying to see how much they could do. Fibonacci was a terrible exercise. The Java packet needs to be revised for a middle school level. There are a couple students who just aren't trying, and that defeats the purpose of a “Make Up Day.”

Day 5 - Notes

So they are super distracted today.

I told them they have to get caught up, so treat this as a makeup day.

For those that are ahead, they are going to TRY sorting.

I just want them to try, I'm ok if none of them get any working.

Bubble sort is the one they understand best.

Teaching notes:

  • Video Presentation
  • Go over the questions in their blogs
  • Sorting
  • Swapping
  • Classes
  • Boolean Algebra


Assignment is going to be on sorting: Bubble, insertion, selection!!!

If there's time, i want them to work on creating their own classes as well.

Journaling will happen first. Programming second.

I aggregated all their sites on one of my blogs:

that means, on this one page, you can see all their posts.

They will each create a Pastebin account and put it in the links page of their website.

They are also doing a morning exercise of:

  • for (int i = 0; i < 7; i++)
  • for (int i = 0; i ⇐ 7; i++)
  • for (int i = 7; i = 0; i–)
  • for (int i = 7; i < 0; i–)
  • for (int i = 7; i > 0; i–)
  • for (int i = 0; i < 7; i–)

Day 4 - Recap

Here are my notes in case you were wondering what got covered.

  • Went over blog questions
  • 20 minutes on reivisions
  • Overview of Eclipse via Outline
  • Datatypes
  • Data Structures (DBs)
  • Array
  • Sorting
  • Classes
  • Objects

Day 4 - Notes

edit: nevermind, we did blog first and assignment second

Lock in the Robot Teams

Do the Java assignment first half (it is ok if they don't finish)

Do the Journal for the second half

Day 3 - Recap

Wow, you are doing an amazing job! These students are getting the material really well. Their websites look amazing. Thanks for handling all the complexity of these assignments.

Tomorrow, we start with Eclipse. This is where the students will be broken up into their Robot Groups. 3 groups of 3 and 3 groups of 2.

Here's the eclipse assignment in one file. I'll print these out for each of the students.

Day 3 - Notes

I'm going to do some webpage house cleaning today. See my slides for details.

I semi-updated the “Schedule” on the Syllabus/Main Page.

During the Lab section, I'd like to give them the option to work in groups of 2. Check out Assignment 3. They need to build something completely on their own now. This time they can pick their own partner. In the Legos part of it, you guys will create 6 balanced groups (2+2+2+3+3+3).

Nothing special about the Journals. I'm giving all students a checklist during Lab today, so there will be more to do than usual.

We'll be putting up a RESUME page during lecture time. My breakdown will be like this.


  • 5 min, icebreaker + Quick overview
  • 5 min. Pencil and Paper
  • 1 hr on Website House Cleaning / Resume Page
  • 10 min break
  • 20 min. review of concepts
  • 20 More Concepts
  • 30 Pencil and Paper


  • Pencil and Paper Designed Processing Project
  • A little intro to Eclipse, if we have it
  • Blog += 2

Still not sure if we will get Eclipse by tomorrow or not.

Remind me to get ziplock bags.

Day 2 - Recap

Having a projector was AWESOME! It's cool seeing the students grasping these concepts.

I emailed Gregg to get eclipse et al on these machines, I haven't heard back… fingers crossed. If it doesn't happen, we'll just need to initiate downloads during my lecture in the morning. I'll have the students do it.

Day 2 - Notes

Day 1 - Recap

Great work, TA's!

I've linked to the wordpress pages for the students. Go through and leave them some comments.

Day 2's big feat is to get the students on

Day 1 - Lecture Notes: 6/24/13

Lab time is basically, setting up wordpress and getting through chapters 1-4 in the Processing book (as discussed).

Feel free to teach out of the book during the lab section.

9-11:30 (2.5 hrs)

Teaching notes: 9:00 - 9:45 (45 Min) Introduction

  • Introduction to the Course/Syllabus
  • Introduction to the instructor:
  • What's happened so far?
  • Who've you met?
  • How do you like Stanford?
  • Where is everyone from?
  • Icebreaker
    • Name + Languages + Game
  • Who has a personal website?
    • What did you use?
  • Who's used Processing before?
  • Who's used Java before?
  • Who's done Mindstorms before?
  • Who has e-mail?

9:45 - 10:30 (45 Min) Lecture

10 Minute Break

10:45 - 11:30 (45 Min) Lecture

Preparation - Part 2: 6/20/13

  • We are still going to start off with Wordpress and Processing
  • Javascript is going on the backburner. Forget about it for now.
  • We're going to be working with 2 Mindstorm Robots: EXPLORER and ARM
  • We will not be going into the Legos until week 2
  • Syllabus has not been updated as of right now

EXPLORER (v1.0 and v2.0)

  • The battery pack for the NXT sticks out of the controller
  • The two versions of the kits are backwards of each other
  • Only v2.0 addresses the batter pack issue
  • I kept the v1.0 just for reference

  • The tutorial for this is spread into 3 vehicles
    • The Car (movement)
    • The Bump Car (bump sensor)
    • The Explorer (sonar)
  • Students will be broken into 6 teams to build

ROBOT ARM (v1.0)

  • We used the 1.0 version and built 6 of these
  • Students will break up into teams and debug prewritten code for the ROBOT ARM

Notes from Lego Land:

Ok status of the sort:
Kellie, we should probably order 4-6 lithium battery packs asap. We do have 22 controllers with supposedly good battery packs (out of the 28) but no guarantee.

6 kits created for MSP: 1 at UCSC (in E2-262), 5 at Ventura Hall
     - empty of Explorer parts. When they will be filled TBD
2 more boxes of cables and sensors for MSP and labelled
Sensors, cables, and controllers all sorted out for Majid and labelled as such for Java and Robotics
Parts that look kind of sorted are in the front of the table (and under the table), mostly in fishing boxes labelled Java and Robotics. There are also 6 cockroaches for you pre-assembled if you want them.

Controllers have not been charged or checked for working order.
Hi All,
This is great—thanks again for taking the time!  If you can fill out the Course Materials Request form we can purchase the battery packs online.  If you can purchase them locally instead, just let me know, and one of you can check a PCard out from us—though I won’t have one available until tomorrow afternoon.
I've ordered 6 on the EPGY Course Materials form.


Preparation - Part 1: ~6/1/13

Check out the website… EPGY Middle School Program - Game Design and Robotics

(Note: It's all going to be continuously revised as we go!)

In the coming weeks, it would be great for you all to do the following:

  • go to and download the program (try going through some tutorials)
  • sign up for an account
  • check out
  • sign up for a account
  • sign up for a blog

Try out this assignment: Journal Assignment 1

Fill out the form at the end, so I can check out your pages.

Here's my sample one:

Can't wait to meet you guys!

/soe/sherol/.html/teaching/data/pages/epgy/msp2013/for_tas.txt · Last modified: 2013/07/03 11:17 by ffpaladin