Programmable Components

Teaching resources for the project

Programmable Components

This is a skills-based project enabling students to understand how more advanced electrical and electronic systems can be programmed and used through designing and making a robot ‘buggy’.

These teaching resources were created from the pilot project delivered to Year 8 students at Marling School and supported by Renishaw but are readily adaptable to suit other year groups.

They are designed to support D&T teachers with limited or no knowledge of computer programming and will require some preparation time but give guidance through the process.  Before downloading the whole project you can download and view the project overview document below.  This will enable you to see the whole learning journey and a summary of each individual activity.

Should you wish to  purchase Renbeds, which may used with this project, visit the D&T Association shop.

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Marling School

Marling School

Marling school - boys' grammar

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a precision engineering company.

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Project Description

Through designing and making a ‘buggy’ that can be programmed for controlled movement, students will use electronics to embed intelligence in products that respond to inputs and control outputs, using programmable components.  With reference to industry throughout, the project introduces students to programming in C++, and develops knowledge and skills in both mechanical and electrical engineering.  Through product development, students will be challenged to design a ‘buggy’ that can effectively manoeuvre a given course.

Key skills: computer programming; advanced electrical & electronic systems; using intelligence in products; self-managers; determination; creativity and risk-taking.

Download Course Overview

The project is split into 7 learning activities that cover approximately 18 hours of teaching. Each learning activity comprises a detailed learning outline, to be viewed as a guide, and a range of support resources comprising word documents, PowerPoint presentations, video clips and more to help you work through the complete project. You can download an overview of the project first or access the whole project, which includes the overview and all learning activities. Alternatively you can download the overview, followed by each learning activity module individually below. NOTE: Please be aware that some folders are large and may take some time to download.

Download Overview Document Download Whole Project

Module 1. Engineering in industry

An introductory activity, allowing students to gain an understanding of the engineering industry, including specialist roles and responsibilities, through researching Renishaw – a precision engineering company.

Time: 2 hours
Key Material: ppt; 2 videos; 'tear down' activity folder


Module 2. The Renishaw challenge

Students compare existing ‘renbuggies’ to identify the variables in each design, how these might alter efficiency or performance and why various components are needed.

Time: 1 hour
Key Material: Renbuggy video folder; ppt; examples of students work; glossary of terms; Renishaw career videos


Module 3. Programming

Students explore coding and the programming. They compile and download a programme onto a microcontroller and watch the results through appropriate outputs, including the ‘renbuggy’.

Time: 4 -5 hours
Key Material: ppt; 4 video tutorials; folders to support 'GENIE' use and using RenBed;'figure of eight' programme


Module 4. Iterative designing

Students apply requirements and constraints for the chassis design, using prototypes to perfect the design and ensure it is fit-for-purpose.

Time: 3 hours
Key Material: ppt; helpsheet; student progress sheet


Module 5. Renbuggy development

Students explore wheel designs and the skid steering mechanisms, developing a solution by testing and modifying, to ensure their ‘renbuggy’ will achieve the Renishaw challenge.

Time: 3 hours
Key Material: ppt, wheel templates folder; student progress sheet; video folder


Module 6. Fine-tuning your Renbuggy

Students complete their solution by testing and modifying to ensure the ‘renbuggy’ will achieve the Renishaw challenge.

Time: variable - dependant on student progress
Key Material: ppt; action planning pro-forma


Module 7. Evaluating the learning

Students present their reflections on the project in terms of knowledge, skills and understanding and identify their learning in relation to the key skills.

Time: 3 hours (2 hour prep; 1 hour delivery)
Key Material: ppt; examples of student evaluations