Intro to Computer Science: TI-84 Rover Challenge

In the Introduction to Computer Science class, Upper School girls learn valuable skills they will need in college and beyond. Students are introduced to the basics of coding and writing programs on their TI-84 calculators. Once the coding basics are mastered, students learn how to code computer graphics using the Java-based language, Processing. By the end of the course, students have a firm foundation in coding and simple robotics. 

This month, in Bullard Gym, students in Tad Wert’s Computer Science class put their newly developed coding skills to the test in a TI-84 Rover challenge. On the current version of the TI-84 calculator, students can write and program code that communicates with the robotic rover. When attached to the rover, the code dictates a path for it to follow. 

The girls’ mission was to program a pathway for the rover to knock down a pattern of expo markers and stay within the confines of the playing space. Not only did the students have to use coding skills to achieve this goal, they also had to employ geometry knowledge, teamwork, and creative problem-solving. 

According to Mr. Wert, one of the biggest takeaways from the challenge is in the value of trial and error. “Students will not get the program right the first time,” Mr. Wert explained. “They make mistakes in the coding, learn from them, and improve.”

Watch the videos below to see just how well students planned, designed, and improved their work with the TI-84 Rovers.