I have been promoting this idea for PIP for a long time but never got around to writing it up. As this is a soccer world cup year and I have to do an activity day next week, I thought it would be an ideal time to write it up. The basic idea is that PIPPIN is given a football personality ( I used a picture of Wayne Rooney off the internet) and has to manipulate a "ball" past some defenders. This is a pure control activity with quite a high motivation level for boys.

 The defenders are based on the skittles idea from PIXIE and PIP. The resources for making it are here. PIPPIN has a blank cover over it. The cover is slightly modified with a couple of paperclips attached at the front corners to improve ball control.


 The picture shows how the paperclips are attached with a few extra staples. It also shows how the "ball" is made. A picture of a ball is glued to the top of a drinks cap (mine was Lucozade).

My goal was a couple of lines drawn on the paper sheet. Using proper goal posts makes life harder as the robot has to go through them rather than just the ball. Goal posts make more work and add little to the activity.

This activity is more difficult than most as the direction that PIPPIN is pointing in is as important as where it goes. So, to collect the ball, the player has to approach the ball from the opposite direction to the way he wants to go when he has the ball. He must not be too close to the ball when he does his last turn or he will push the ball out of the way. Another issue is manipulating the ball round a corner. If PIPPIN does a 90 degree turn, the ball will usually be lost off to one side as the paperclips are not long enough to hold it. PIPPIN must do smaller turns with short forwards movements between them to keep control of the ball. This combination gives the activity its strong control element.

It is now "next week" and I have tried this with small groups at a secondary school. There was a lot of discussion about the relative merits of footballers. Someone even knew the names of the obscure Portuguese defenders that I used. Everyone eventually managed to complete the tasks.

Date Last Modified: 20/7/06 

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