Driving Towards the Future

Students will learn about the current topic of self-driving cars and use it as a platform to learn about the big ideas behind computational thinking.

Pour trouver une version française de cette activité, cherchez pour le nom d'activité suivant: En route vers le futur

In this workshop, students will learn about the current topic of self-driving cars and use it as a platform to learn about the big ideas behind computational thinking - how to break down a problem into steps, and how to create a process that can be followed to reach a goal. As they program a car through different levels involving parking, loops and navigating curves, they will take on the role of the programmer, as well as the role of the computer that executes the program, in order to experience the entire process. As an option, a debate or discussion on ethical issues related to self-driving cars can be included or left behind for the teacher. This hands-on workshop does not require the use of a computer.


 

What You Need

How to build this kit the first time:

  • 16 Toy cars standard size "Matchbox" or "Hot Wheels" type car
  • 16 Rulers
  • 17 Binders or you can get the challenge books spiral bound instead
  • 80 Laminating sheets if you are using your own laminator
  • Velcro with sticky back

Guide and Resources:

 

What To Do

This workshop will have youth programming their cars through various levels and challenges.

Activity 2: Programming the Cars

Each small group will need 2 playbooks (Version A and B), 2 cars and a ruler. 

  • Level 1: This activity allows students to learn about the basics of programming. Follow the instructions in the manual. 
  • Level 2: This activity allows students to practice repeating commands (loops). Follow the instructions in the manual.
  • Level 3: This activity is a little more complex and allows students to make decisions (if/else). Follow the instructions in the manual. 

Activity 3: Ethics of Self Driving Cars

This activity allows students to discuss the ethics behind new innovations, such as self-driving cars. 

 

Discovery

Investigate Further

Activity 4: Debate

If time permits, the volunteer has the option to lead a debate that allows students to practice critical thinking. Please see manual for instructions. 

Investigate Further

Activity 4: Debate

If time permits, the volunteer has the option to lead a debate that allows students to practice critical thinking. Please see manual for instructions. 

Resources

Guide and Resources:

Check out additional resources (articles, career profiles and more) on these topics from Let’s Talk Science: