One of the criticism of the robot programming part of the Junkbots project is not everyone necessarily gets a go at the programming. To address this a new feature has been added to the project. There are now two parallel activities as well as programming a robot; there is a separate programming exercise carried out at the same time which replicates some of the same actions of the robot but this time on screen.
Figure: Robot pushing a barrel
These exercises are based around the increasngily popular Greenfoot software (http://www.greenfoot.org/download/) which is free to download and use. This can be put on as many machines as are need enabling more people to have a go at programming.
The exercises initially gets participants to set-up the world, place a robot within it and get the robot to move across the screen. Building on the each previous exercise, the complexity increases and includes challenges (such as in the figure) where the robot pushes a piece of rubbish (in this case a barrel) off the screen.
Some of the material can be found at: http://www.computing.northampton.ac.uk/~scott/greenfoot_ex/sco1/default.htm