Minefield Project
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Project At A Glance

Author:  Mr. Nicholas Holmes

Duration: 8 weeks

Essential Question:  Can a robot be designed, built, and autonomously programmed to carry out tasks which are unsafe or unfit for humans?

Description:  Students will design, engineer, construct and program a robotic machine capable of "disarming mines" and then disposing the mines in a secure "detention bin.


In groups consisting of two

members, students will design, engineer, build, prototype, test, and program a robot made entirely out of VEX Robotics hardware and sensors.  This project will culminate with students submitting a video highlighting everything that went into the construction of their robot.   Beginning the week of May 18th, students will face off against each other in a friendly competition called MINEFIELD.  Evaluation is based on the functional prototype, documentation of the process, a final technical report in the form of a video or a presentation, and peer evaluation.



Game Layout and Rules

In this game, the students’ robots will navigate a playing field which contains 14 simulated “mines” (tennis balls) which have been placed on “pedestals” (3” tall sections of PVC pipe).  Two robots will compete to safely disarm (lift the mine off the pedestal) and transport a set of mines to any of five disposal areas located on the edges of the playing field.  A match lasts two minutes.  The first 30 seconds of a match is called the Autonomous Period.  During this time, the robot will operate independently following a pre-loaded program.  The remaining 90 seconds is called the Driver Control Period where the students will remotely control the robot.



Students will demonstrate an understanding and aptitude for Mechatronic systems and the technological problem solving process by utilizing this knowledge and process to design, construct, program, and operate a fully functional mobile robot that solves the identified task.



Time Constraints

  1. In class time is limited to twenty (30) class periods. This equals 45 hours of real time. 

  2. Out of class work time is unlimited. 

  3. Open lab times are specifically for spending extra time outside of class to work on this project.  A sign-up sheet is hanging in our classroom for students to sign up to use the Mechatronics lab after school hours.  Teams must sign up for open lab time at least two days in advance.  Lab time will be available Tuesday & Thursday from 2:30p – 4:00p.

  4. The final video presentation must be more than 3 minutes but less than 5 minutes.

Along with conventional subject-matter tests, expectations for critical thinking, planning and organization, problem solving, and presentation skills require ongoing project-specific performance evaluations though the use of journals, student reflections, rubrics, process analysis sheets, deadline completion check-offs, and culminating presentations of learning.