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Name of Activity Mystery Sensor Challenge
Author Eleanor Richard, Sam Heilborn
Keywords Lego, Robotics, Mindstorm, Programming, Challenge, Introduction, Sensors, Sensor Introduction, EV3, NXT
Subject Mindstorm Programming
Grade Level 4,5,6,7,8,9
Time 30-60 minutes
Brief Description
Lesson Objectives: Familiarize students with the Mindstorm blocks.Have students understand the importance of the order and specific aspects of programming blocks, such as speed, duration, degree.Introduce student to the concepts of “What If” blocks and “Loops.”
Materials Needed:
  • NXT or EV3 Robots
  • Touch, Sound, and/or Ultrasonic Sensors
Preparation and Set Up: Crete 4-6 challenging and excited Mindstorm programs with non-desribitive names. These programs can include Some examples are shown belowScreen Shot 2015-03-30 at 4.49.37 PM
Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 4.49.50 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-30 at 4.49.44 PM?
Necessary Background Teacher must understand Mindstorm, and students should have some familiarity with EV3 or NXT, but do not (and should not) have a lot of experience programming.
Online Reference(s)
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable)


Name of Activity Communication Towers
Author Ali Boreiko + Jen Scinto
Keywords communication, non-NXT, building, teamwork, social skills
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time <1 Hour Total
Brief Description In this activity, students will better understand the importance of communication for engineers. By completing an engineering challenge silently in groups , they will gain an appreciation for verbal communication.
Lesson Objectives: The objective of this activity is to have students reflect on how they communicate to their classmates and to the teachers. 
Materials Needed: -Found materials (paper, bottles, straws, clothespins, etc)

-An arm’s length of tape

-A separate room/space where half of the students can work (e.g. a hallway or empty classroom nearby).

Procedure Warm up the class by discussing: What is communication? How do humans communicate? Animals? Robots? Who do engineering need to communicate with when they’re working on a project? Who do you communicate with when you’re working on a project? (5-10 mins)

Then, divide the class up into teams of 6-10 people, let them choose their team name. The teams are competing to build the tallest tower. But, the team must build the top and bottom half separately. So, divide the teams up again into two groups, the top and the bottom (each with 3-6 people).

Tell them that the two groups working on the bottom cannot talk, but are allowed to write and draw. The team working on the top is not allowed to write or draw, but is allowed to talk. Let the kids work for ~10 minutes on their part of the tower. They should NOT be able to see the other half of the tower.

Then, each of the two groups (top and bottom) sends a representative to discuss their ideas with the other half of their team to plan how the tower will fit together. They cannot bring any pieces from the tower, just their ideas. Each representative keeps his or her handicap. After they meet for 5 minutes, the representatives return to their groups and continue to build. 

After ~10 more minutes of building, the groups unite and get 5 minutes to connect their tower, all the while with their handicaps. Finally, once each team has a tower, measure them! 

Debrief by asking: What was hard about the activity? Why is communication so important for engineers? (5-10 mins)

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