Moving Through the Mantle





Name of Activity

Moving Through the Mantle




igneous rocks, mantle, transport, NXT, earth



Grade Level

K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


1 Hour Total

Brief Description

To build an extension to the Magic School Bus that will clear a path through the igneous rocks to gravel through the mantle and transport passengers.

Lesson Objectives:

– To design a structure that is capable of moving objects.

– To program the “School Buses” to travel for a given length of time.

Materials Needed:

– Pre-Constructed LEGO NXT cars (from lesson 1)

– Various LEGO pieces

– Pre-assembled tunnel (of cardboard, book lining sides and a board for a top.

– Pieces of sponges to represent igneous rocks

– Miscellaneous objects (for extensions)

– Computers running MINDSTORMS

Preparation and Set Up:

– Lay out sponge pieces in a path.

– Construct a tunnel with an opening that is wide enough for an NXT vehicle to fit through.

– Set up computers running MINDSTORMS.

– Arrange students in groups of 2 – 4.

– Distribute NXT cars and LEGO kits.

Necessary Background


Igneous rock



  1. Tell students that they will be navigating their NXT vehicle through the igneous rock and the mantle, carrying passengers the whole way.
  2. Students must first design an extension that will push the sponge pieces (igneous rock) out of the way of their vehicle.
  3. Then, they will need to program their car to travel through the tunnel and stop so that they can drop off their passengers. This can be done using time or a light sensor.
  4. Let students test their designs on the igneous rocks and through the tunnel.
  5. Students will program their vehicles to stop exactly where passengers must be picked up or dropped off.
  6. At the end of class, come together and let each group show-off their design. Discuss the features of the igneous rock layer and the mantle.

Extensions or Modifications:

– Program the NXT to play a song once it gets through the mantle.

– Try moving heavier objects in place of igneous rocks.

Reference 1

Reference 2

Reference 3

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