Can Year 9 Achieve A Year 12 Standard?


Kitsunei has provided a platform that’s trivialised the hardware and simplified its software to allow more students to greet challenges, previously thought of as beyond their reach and succeed.

“Wouldn’t it be great if my year 9 STEM class were able to do things that the Yr 12 Mechatronics class could do?” Mr Simon Tilley STEM teacher, Hale School W.A., Australia. Mr Tilley went on to say: “Often the opportunity for a student to extend and engage is limited by the resources they have available. I wanted to push my students to their limits I was confident they could do much more. “
Year 9 Stem Class
Age: 12 - 13 years old
Level: Middle School
School: Hale School, WA.
Kitsi Blocks: Power, Motor Driver, Infrared, Wifi

Creating a Mars Rover is quite a challenge

To produce a prototype for a Mars Rover Craft which will transport ore from a mine site to a smelting area autonomously to ensure the safety of the astronauts.

The challenge the boys faced not only involved the physical build of the Mars Rover but also the cost of producing it given the constraints of motor, power supply, wheels etc. It was not a one dimension project. The boys had to consider quite a few variable in the build. For instance they had the daunting task of minimising the rocket payload whilst still maintaining the integrity of the structure.

In dealing with efficiency and power supply and measuring current they stepped up to the mark and acquitted themselves well. They worked out the number of joules per ore run and determined the capacity of the battery. This attention to cost detail ensured competitive Mars Rover Space Agency proposals. All teams wanted to win the contract.

It was interesting to note that not one boy had any idea of the dark side of the moon and the need for possible network connections. Ideally this was going to be performed with a mobile phone on the front of the Mars Rover and then beamed to project where the pupils would attempt to control the Mars Rover by the image on the screen in front of the whole class!!!  Alas we ran out of time by this stage.

Stage one

  1. Construct, program and navigate the MarsRover from one end of the crater to the other.-
  2. Spreadsheet, weight versus cost of payload into space.  Formula: $10,000 per kilo scaled to 1g per $10,000. Design with weight considerations.
  3. Record the time taken to complete course.
  4. The end of this stage culminates in a team proposal to the International SpaceAgency for the cost of their Mars Rover.

Stage Two

  1. Power calculations. Calculate the power required to move the load from the mine site to the base camp. This would then give a cost per ton of ore.
  2. Look at ways of reducing costs whilst maintaining ore delivery targets.

Stage Three

  1. Produce a trailer and use a servo to move the cargo on and off the trailer.
  2. Adapt the power setting on the car controller via the Inertial Measurement Unit Block (IMU). This would ensure the power delivered to the wheels of the Mars Rover would be appropriate for the terrain.

Amazing success, impressive

“The Kitsi blocks have enabled my year 9 STEM students to do things that only my year 12 Mechatronics ATAR students would have been able to do.  The ability to rapidly program the electronics and concentrate on problem solving has led to the students being far more creative with their ideas.  This in turn has encouraged me to be more demanding of what I ask for, and to provide far more realistic “real world scenarios” for the students to work on.”

Mr Simon Tilley