Instruction Guide: EV3 - Pseudocode

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In this Lesson we have 4 Primary Instruction Resources:

  1. The 1st resource is a EV3 Trainer video on Big Ideas that covers breaking down tasks into smaller behaviors
  2. The 2nd resource is a EV3 Trainer video on Iterative Design that covers breaking down projects into smaller behaviors
  3. The 3rd resource is from the EV3 Trainer User Guide that describes the traditional text-based approach to pseudocode
    (Note: This resource is only available from the purchased version of EV3 Trainer)
  4. The 4th resource is a Word template for an alternative graphical approach to pseudocode for breaking down challenges and building up EV3-G solutions.

Resource 1:

Students should review:

The EV3 Trainer:

  • Basics > Big Ideas 4-5

    • 4. Break Down Problems and Build Up Solutions

This videos covers breaking down a large task into smaller behaviors, and then breaking down those behaviors until one can describe the behaviors in terms of the instructions available in the programming language.  Then constructing a program by building up the solution.

Resource 2:

Students should review:

The EV3 Trainer:

  • Final Challenge > Resources

    • 2. Iterative Design

This videos covers how building up a solution by getting one small piece to work, then incrementally adding additional small pieces allows for easier debugging and robust solutions.

Resource 3:

This resource will  introduce the idea of pseudocode. The EV3 Trainer Teacher's Guide references this on page 119. These pages are designed to be a handout with attached exercises but are only available if you are using the purchased version of EV3 Trainer.

Alternatively, a FlowChart may be used as a tool for arranging these identified behaviors in a graphical/visual format.  The upcoming Introduction to Flow Charts Lesson may be used to help with this approach.

Resource 4:

The attached Pseudocode Sheet Example Word file shows a column-based graphical approach to breaking down challenges (e.g. the relatively complex Colored Ball Challenge) and then building up a EV3-G solution:

  • In the 1st column, the Challenge is broken into Major Tasks . 
  • In the 2nd column, each Major Task is broken down into Actions; an English description of what the robot must do (a.k.a. how would you explain this Action to someone without robotics training).  These description make great comments for the final EV3-G program.
  • From there, each Action is written into EV3-G Commands with all necessary parameters.
  • If any EV3-G Command requires a calculation, this work is done in the RoboMath column. 

With the relatively simple programming challenges at this level, the Pseudocode process may seem like overkill, but many teachers have found that starting out with this discipline from the earliest stages provides students with the skills to tackle more complex challenges easily and avoid the guess-and-check method of program development which most students inherently gravitate to. If an electronic version is preferred the attached Pseudocode Template Word file example can be used. The beauty here is that students may list all the Major Tasks in one step, then insert the associated Actions in another pass, and finally the EV3-G commands in a third step - all without having to guess how much space to leave (as required in the paper-based method above).