Sochi 2014 – Figure Skating





Name of Activity Sochi 2014 – Figure Skating
Author STOMP Minigroups
Keywords Robotics, NXT, Olympics, Sochi, ice skating, figure skating, movement
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will program a pre-made car to move around on a “rink” like a figure skater.
Lesson Objectives: - Explore the movement options on MINDSTORMS
- Familiarize students with programming on pre-made cars
Materials Needed: NXT kits (premade cars)
Material for a rink
Optional: different colored paper for conditional programming, tape to outline a rink
Preparation and Set Up: Make NXT cars beforehand.
Set up a rink, distribute kits and cars.
Necessary Background NXT Programming (including sensors)
Building with LEGOs
Procedure - Distribute materials – Depending on the age group, introduce programming and the theme of the lesson (Olympics, Sochi, Figure Skating) to get the kids excited – Depending on the age group, decide which extensions and modifications you need in place to be at the appropriate level for the students – Have the students make their robot “figure skate” using MINDSTORMS and make their routine fit into whichever requirements you give them (e.g. +1 point for a 360, car must do a 180 every time it drives over a red block, -1 every time the car moves off the rink)
Extensions: Depending on the age group, introduce restrictions and point incentives as described above.

Paper Bridges




Name of Activity Paper Bridges
Author Amanda Rock and Daniella DiPaola
Keywords bridges, paper, civil
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 3, 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Build a bridge out of paper and tape that can cross a one foot span between desks and support as many books as possible. You can modify the restraints to say that it must be free standing or can be taped to the desks, make it as tall as possible, restrict the amount of materials that can be used.
Lesson Objectives: Introduction to sturdy structures and Civil Engineering. You can talk about force and gravity, what shapes are stronger than others, how a piece of paper is stronger in tension than compression, how you can modify the paper to make it stronger.
Materials Needed: Paper/Newspaper, tape
Preparation and Set Up: Make a worksheet where students have a place to make an initial design.
Procedure 1. Talk about learning objectives and what a Civil Engineer does. 2. Pass out worksheets and have students draw their design alone or with their partner. 3. Pass out paper and tape once students have explained their design to you. 4. Lets students build for a while and then test it. 5. If they are successful quickly make modifications like who can make the tallest bridge or give them a little more material to make a stronger bridge.
Extensions: Limit amount of material students can use.
Build the tallest bridge.
Build a bridge that does not need to be taped to the desk.
Introduce other material options.

Squishy Circuits, Conductors, and Insulators





Name of Activity Squishy Circuits, Conductors and Insulators
Author STOMP
Keywords squishy, circuit, LED, insulator, conductor
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 3, 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description In this activity, the students will use previous knowledge about the basic components of a circuits to build a circuit that will light an LED light. In addition, they will predict which of a series of household materials will act as conductors and insulators – they will then test their predictions in the circuit.
Lesson Objectives: To get students to apply their knowledge of circuits and electricity to make a circuit.
Materials Needed: 9V batteries
LED batteries
rubber bands
paper clips
Procedure 1. distribute materials 2.



Name of Activity Flubber
Author Laura Fradin
Keywords goo, fun, chemical engineering, borax, glue
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description This will take less than an hour, but is a fun way to introduce chemical engineering by making goo that the kids can take home.
Lesson Objectives: -introduce students to the concept of chemical engineering
-explore how different ratios of chemicals/ingredients produce different results
Materials Needed: -water
-elmer’s glue
-food coloring (optional)
Preparation and Set Up: Have 2 different containers for mixing the ingredients.
Necessary Background None
Procedure How Flubber is actually made: 1) Mix 3/4 cup of the water with 1 cup glue in a bowl. Stir this mixture until it is thoroughly mixed together. Set it aside. 2) Mix 2 tablespoons of Borax with a 1/2 cup of water in a separate bowl. Mix thoroughly until all of the Borax is dissolved. 3) Combine the two mixtures. Stir them together. Add several drops of food coloring until the mixture is the color you want it to be. 4)Continue stirring until it is one mass of goo. See extensions to see how this activity can be more independent for students and take a full class period.
Extensions: This activity can be done as a demonstration in front of the whole class, allowing students to come do different parts of the reaction/procedure.

However, this activity can be done by giving the students a certain amount of each material and have them work in pairs to try and create something that is the consistency of flubber. This will take almost a whole class period! Each group should have a different mixture and they can learn the effects of using various proportions/ratios of each ingredient. After each group has experimented and they have discussed what happened when they mixed various proportions, you can make flubber as a whole class using the procedure outlines above.

LEGO House





Name of Activity LEGO House
Author Emily Taintor
Keywords LEGO, house, building, town, electricity, circuit, light, bulb, constraints, construction, squishy circuits
Subject Non-LEGO, LEGO Building
Grade Level 3, 4, 5
Time 3 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will build LEGO houses that are lit by LED bulbs to certain design constraints.
Lesson Objectives: - Introduce students to LEGO building under design constraints
- Familiarize students with the process of planning and implementing a circuit
Materials Needed: - LEGO Bricks
- LED Bulbs
- Wires (or playdough)
- House bases (for the design constraint)
- Batteries
- Alligator clips
Preparation and Set Up: - Give each group a base, bricks, an LED bulb, and wire (or playdough)
- Explain design constraints
Necessary Background Basic electricity information, LEGO familiarity
  1. Distribute materials
  2. Explain design constraints
  3. Students should begin by constructing a LEGO House to whatever design constraints the instructors decide upon. Our class had size and height constraints (had to fit on the small base, had to be big enough for a LEGO man to live in) but they could be any sort of design constraint, service learning-related or otherwise. During the building process the students should be considering how they want to wire the house so that an LED bulb can light the inside of the house from a battery on the outside of the house.
  4. Once the house has been constructed, have the students plan out the circuit that they want to use to light the house. We had the students use just one LED bulb so the circuits were very basic.
  5. Students should wire the house so that the LED bulb lights the inside of the house from a battery on the outside. We used playdough instead of wires to create the circuit to build off of the squishy circuits activity, so they had a lot of flexibility on implementing the actual circuit.
  6. Students should assemble their houses in one big “town” and present their houses to the rest of the class. Students should be able to explain their circuit to the class, as well.
Extensions: - Make the house more realistic (make the light connect to the ceiling or look like a lamp)
- Give more specific design constraints
- Use more than one bulb per house – would create better diversity of solutions
- Have groups of students create ‘neighborhoods’ so that they have to combine their circuits to connect to one communal energy source

Hover Crafts

Name of Activity Hover Crafts
Author STOMP
Keywords air resistance, design engineering, aeronautical engineering, wind, tunnel, fan
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Given some basic household supplies (popsicle sticks, paper, foam, aluminum foil, straws, clothes pins, etc), students were asked to create a “hover craft” that could remain in the air inside a wind tunnel created using a tunnel and a fan.
Lesson Objectives: -Emphasize the engineering design process and the need for testing and redesigning.
-Discuss and explore air resistance and forces.
Materials Needed: -wind tunnel
-popsicle sticks
-aluminum foil
-clothes pins
-construction paper
-Activity Worksheet
Preparation and Set Up: -Print out enough copies of the activity worksheet
-separate materials into bags will equal numbers of each material per group
-set up the wind tunnel by placing the tunnel on top of the fan and turning the fan on
Necessary Background -Discuss air resistance
-Discuss design engineering/aeronautical engineering
Procedure 1. Explain the challenge–to create a hovercraft that stays in the air the longest. 2. Students draw initial designs and then discuss their designs in their groups. 3. Students combine ideas into one design and then may begin to build with the materials. 4. Students test and redesign throughout the class period evaluating what is working well and what isn’t. 5. The class discusses the best and worst pieces of their many designs and discusses why they might have worked/not worked.
Extensions: To make the activity more difficult, you may give students fewer materials or give them a “budget” with which to “buy” materials.
Modifications: It is important not to use too strong a fan or else no matter what they make, it will just fly out of the tunnel.
Reference 1
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Types of Engineering

Little Johnny and his Pet Cow





Name of Activity Pulleys- Little Johnny and his Pet Cow
Author Matthew Mueller
Keywords Pulleys, simple machines, weighing, balancing, well
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Little Johnny’s pet cow has fallen down a well! You need to come up with a system of pulleys that will help little Johnny lift his cow out of the well.
Lesson Objectives: Get kids to understand the idea that pulleys can both change direction of motion, and lessen the amount of force needed to lift a heavy object.
Materials Needed: Lego pulleys, beams, axles, string, weights
Necessary Background A basic understanding of pulleys and their uses.
Procedure First have the kids try and make a wall of pulleys and show how it is easier to pull up a heavy object when using the pulleys.  Then challenge the kids to build a wall of pulleys that is capable of balancing as many weights on one side with just one weight on the other side.
Extensions: They can always try to balance more weights on one side and show that the more pulleys there are, the lighter the load will seem on the other side.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Simple Machines

Spaghetti Towers





Name of Activity Spaghetti Towers
Author Laura Fradin, Jake Hellman
Keywords spaghetti, towers, introduction, engineering, 5th grade, aguayo, marshmallows, tape
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students build the tallest tower possible out of spaghetti, tape, and place a marshmallow at the top of their tower.
Lesson Objectives: -Intro to Engineering
-Understand what constraints are
-Triangles are stronger than squares
-Failure is okay
Materials Needed: -spaghetti (10 pieces for every group)
-tape (1 ft for every group)
-marshmallows (1 per group)
-measuring tape
Preparation and Set Up: -arrange students in pairs
-collect necessary materials
Necessary Background Start the Class with an Intro to Engineering. What is engineering? What does an engineer do? Once students have a basic understanding of what engineering is, tell them we are going to do an engineering challenge!
Procedure 1) Explain the activity. They will have 15 minutes to build the tallest tower out of 10 pieces of spaghetti and 12 inches of tape. The marshmallow must balance at the top of the tower.  The time limit and the limited amount of materials given are known as constraints. (No you can’t eat the marshmallows. We will be measuring from to the top of the marshmallow so don’t use it as  a base) 2) Split students into pairs and let them work for 15 minutes. Wander the classroom and talk about different designs. See if any groups need help. 3) When time runs out, have everyone take a look at the various tower designs. Which ones are the tallest? What did you have trouble with in this challenge? What do you think you needed to make a better tower? How did you make yours stand up? Did the weight of the marshmallow make any towers collapse? 4) Explain the difference in stability between triangle and square/rectangle structures. 5) Engineers have to work with constraints all the time. Failure is just a part of the Engineering Design Process.
Reference 2

Spin Art





Name of Activity Spin Art
Author STOMP
Keywords spin art, motors, gears
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Legos are used to create a “spin art machine” to attach to a box.
Lesson Objectives: - Understand how to use gears and motors together.
Materials Needed: - A box with a flap at the top and a small square to squirt paint into
- two to three gears of different sizes per spin art machine
- Lego motor
- Lego beams
- Axles
Preparation and Set Up: - Prepare a box with a flap opening and a small square opening at the top of flap.
- Prepare one box per group of students
- split students into groups of 4-5 per group
- Assemble a kit with a few axles, lego beams, and a few gears of different sizes
Necessary Background Understand how to use motors.
Understand basics to gears
Procedure Have students construct a small machine using a few Legos and gears. Once the students build the machine, attach a motor to the axle of the gear system.
Modifications: When building gear system, advise students to make a simple gear system. More than two gears will make a gear train that will be hard to move with the motor.

Red Light, Green Light





Name of Activity Red Light, Green Light
Author STOMP
Keywords NXT, cars, robotics, sensors
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will program cars to play a game of “Red Light, Green Light” based on sound. Robots will race each other, but have to stop at hearing a clap, go on the next clap, etc.
Lesson Objectives: Learn the use of the sound sensor.
Materials Needed: NXT Kit, laptop
Preparation and Set Up: Have a defined start and end line for the race.
Necessary Background Have a functioning car to be programmed, knowledge of programming loops.
Procedure 1. Brainstorm the programming strategy. 2. Program the cars to alternately stop and go on hearing a noise. 3. Refine the decibel threshold of the sound sensor so it is not too sensitive or overly sensitive. 4. Have the cars race each other, disqualifying cars if they don’t follow the rules.
Extensions: This could be modified to use another sensor as the “light.”
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) NXT Robotics

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