Week 8

Session 1

Guiding Question

  • How can we detect life on Mars using a robot?


  • How can we program our robot for detecting water on the Mars simulation?


  • Create and write down a strategy for the robot to detect water on the Mars simulation.

  • Write the code and program the robot based on the strategy created.

  • Debug using different strategies.

  • Test and modify codes and robot for competition.

CT Components


  • Students break a problem into parts to explore all objects or avoid all objects on the Mars simulation.


  • Students program the final robot using all of the movement and the sensors to explore Mars and figure out how to debug their programs.

Conditional Logic

  • Students use “if-then-else” logic to command the robot to explore the Mars simulation.

Simulation & Modeling

  • Students manipulate data through a controlled program for a solution and debug their codes when their programs do not work correctly.


  • Students discuss their strategies and codes with team members.

Entry Event

10 minutes

Teacher asks the follow questions:

1. What are some of the strategies you use to avoid obstacles?

2. What are some of your strategies to debug?

How can we program our robot to detect water on the Mars simulation?

Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry (55 minutes)


Display a photo of Mars simulation on screen and distribute laptops.

Students write down how they would command the robot to detect water from different starting points (strategy) in their note book.

Students share their strategy with their group and identify a best strategy in the group.

Students convert their strategy into codes.

Check students' progress and facilitate the students' thinking process.

Depending on students' thinking style, there are two ways to approach the problem: 1) Work on the overall logic first (how to determine which starting point the robot is at. Hint: Using If-then logic and the Switch Block); 2) Work on the specific point first (what the robot will do at the specific starting point)

If students have problems creating the strategy, have students write a strategy for a specific starting point to begin with.


End of Session Reflection and Debriefing

5-10 minutes

Teacher briefly explains the computational thinking (CT) skill embedded in the Problem Solving Process Diagram. Using the problem solving process diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

  • What did I learn today?

  • What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

  • How did I use the problem solving skills/processes/CT components?