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1.07 Marty using Marty Blocks Jr on the Farm

45 Minutes

Lesson Overview

This lesson will focus on the effect that technology has on current practices. The physical Marty, in the classroom, will replace 'Agrobot' from a prepared text. Learners will gain an appreciation for the amount of technology that is now in place in 21st-century farms. Learners will then have an opportunity to develop a short program to emulate an autonomous tractor, using MartyBlocks Jr.

Key vocabulary:
    agriculture, autonomous, crops, drone, inspect, report,

Content Sections

  • Learning Objectives
  • Warm up
        • Get Learning
        • Unknown block type "youtube", please specify a serializer for it in the `serializers.types` prop
        • Time for Practice
        • Cool Down
          • Extensions & Challenges
          • Extend
          • Support
          • Additional Reading
          • 1.07 Marty using Marty Blocks Jr on the Farm

            45 Minutes

            Lesson Overview

            This lesson will focus on the effect that technology has on current practices. The physical Marty, in the classroom, will replace 'Agrobot' from a prepared text. Learners will gain an appreciation for the amount of technology that is now in place in 21st-century farms. Learners will then have an opportunity to develop a short program to emulate an autonomous tractor, using MartyBlocks Jr.

            Key vocabulary:
              agriculture, autonomous, crops, drone, inspect, report,
            • Awareness of movement blocks, in Marty Blocks Jr
            • iPad or Tablet with MartyBlocks Jr
            • Science, social studies, mathematics, literacy
            • Marty v2

              Device with MartyBlocks Jr installed

              blocks or books to create 'rows of crops'

              craft supplies: color construction paper, markers, or crayons, low tack tape, e.g., gaffer's tape

              ruler - 1 per team

            Learning Objectives

            • I can describe some changes in farm technology over time.
            • I can create instructions to move a device forward, back and side to side.

            For this entire lesson, Marty should be on the ground, not on a table.

            Warm up

            Read chapter 1 and 2 of Marty's farm story to set the scene for the learning ahead. An optional extra would be to prepare code as you read the text: running code blocks in MartyBlocks Jr may focus learners while telling the story.

            • the wiggle and dance block could be used at the end of the first paragraph, both are found in the movement section
            • eyes wide (in motion) and play sound disbelief (in sound) would be a good complement for when Marty opens the birthday present
            • eyes excited (in motion) when Marty sees what it in the barn
            • eyes wiggle (in motion) for the last paragraph of the text

            Stop after the first chapter and you could ask questions from the following suggestions:

            • What is Marty's attitude to farming?
            • What is Marty's attitude to technology?
            • What do you know about farming?
            • How do you think farms and technology interact?

            At this point, you could have learners look at the first activity in the workbook and tick the pictures they think are common on a farm,

            After the second chapter, you could ask questions from the following suggestions:

            • Has Marty's opinion on farming changed? If so, how?
            • Has your opinion on farming changed? If so, how?
            • Uncle RAM mentions one thing that needs to be coded on the farm, can you think of any other things on a farm that might need to be coded to do the same action again and again?
            • Can you think of any other things in your life that you think might be coded because an action is repeated again and again?

            Learners could revisit the first activity here.

            Get Learning

            Share the objectives with learners, from the PowerPoint presentation. Share the short video showing a family in East Anglia (in the east of England) and their journey with new farming technologies; it's on the next slide in the presentation. Included in the resources is a longer video that chronicles different families in the UK.

            Tell learners that we will need to build rows of wheat, for the simulation. This will need to be wide enough for Marty to walk between them and stop to check what is growing. Depending on how realistic the wheat is going to be, a lesson could be used to create wheat stalks, alternatively, learners could use water bottles or cut out the images of wheat that are included in the resources; this is what was used for the video in the lesson. If you want learners to create the wheat stalks, this will add time to the lesson.

            The video in the presentation does not include the code, for the learners to see. You will notice that there is a 'get ready' block between each movement. the reason for this is because when Marty ends each movement, one foot is often ahead of another or not centered; the get ready block brings the feet together and aligns them. It is worthwhile mentioning this. Another talking point is the fact that when Marty returns to the path, after inspecting the wheat, there is a two-step turn: this is to center Marty and prepare him for moving forward to the next stalk of wheat. Marty could move to the left, or go straight ahead, at this point. Remember that different surfaces require different modifications - this video was shot on a rather smooth surface.

            All of the blocks used for this program are found under the arrow icon, for movement, except the starting flag, which is found in the block icon to the left of the arrow. There is a slide in the presentation describing all of the blocks used.

            Give learners the resources to build the rows and decorate them with wheat stalks. Encourage them to make enough space between the 'rows' so that Marty can walk past them in a straight line but also be able to sidestep and 'inspect' them. One idea would be to use a stack of books or blacks and tape wheat stalks onto to sides of the stack, as shown below.

            Once learners have completed the rows of wheat, they need to start planning how to have their agrobot inspect the wheat. The device will need to walk in front of each stalk to inspect, then walk back into the main path to go to the next stalk to inspect it, from the front again. This will require some thinking about distance and number of steps to accomplish this task.

            The video below shows an example of Marty at work, just checking out the first stalk of wheat - moving right and then left back to the start. This video is shown in the presentation; the slide after that features the code for the video.

            Learners should use their rulers to measure how far Marty needs to move left and right and forward to the next stalk of wheat. Give learners time to plan their code in order to accomplish the repetitive movements.

            Time for Practice

            Learners need to work together to estimate or measure lengths and steps, and create code to inspect at least two stalks of wheat. The movements needed will be the forward, back and left / right blocks. Additionally, the turn blocks, turn left and right, can be used to center Marty after returning to the center of the path. The get ready block is used for both centering Marty's feet and pausing to inspect the wheat.

            Have learners mark a starting spot for Marty because it is expected that they will need to improve on their previous code.

            Cool Down

            Bring learners back together to discuss the challenges they faced and overcame. Have groups model their creations and explain what is happening, when. Encourage other groups to ask questions to deepen the understanding of the processes.

            Suggested questions you might ask:

            • How close were you the first time, when you went to investigate the first stalk of wheat?
            • What changes did you make to improve your previous work?
            • Did you find the get ready block helpful or did it get in the way?

            Carry out any end of lesson routines.

            Log off devices and clear everything away.

            Extensions & Support

            Extend

            Challenge learners to inspect all of the stalks of wheat. Have learners think about how they could have these movements that are repeating and build a block that lets Marty only inspect the right-hand crops or the left-hand crops. These blocks could be in different 'programs' or they could have separate starting blocks on the same workspace.

            Support

            Have learners use rulers or tape to mark the path. Have learners move slowly, one or two steps at one time, and then use the get ready block to center the legs before continuing. The smaller step method would make the estimation task smaller, lots of trial and error would be required but lots of small successes would also be experienced.

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            • CSTA Education Standards
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            • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)