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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)
Brief Description Students create greeting cards that have an LED.
Subject Engineering & Art
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 3 Hours Total
Lesson Objectives:
  1. Students will practice building circuits and broaden their understanding of what a circuit looks like.
  2. Students will practice gratitude by writing cards to people they love.
  3. Students will make connections between engineering and art.
Materials Needed:
      The materials for this activity can be somewhat expensive if you let the students keep their cards. Be sure to have your expense approved in advance.

    • 3V coin cell battery (1 per person)
    • 3mm colored LEDs (1-3 per person)
    • resistors (to protect the LED)
    • copper tape
    • masking tape
    • Scrap paper for planning cards
    • Construction paper for the final cards
    • Additional craft supplies (markers, scissors)
    • sample card(s) (optional)
Preparation and Set Up:
  • Order necessary materials well in advance.
  • It is recommended for younger students that you tape the resistor to the battery for them.
  • Make the sample card(s).
Necessary Background Students must know how to build complete circuits.
  1. Explain the activity. Be sure to explain the coin cell battery and the copper tape. Pass around the sample(s).(10 mins)
  2. Give students the scrap paper, a battery and an LED. Ask them to plan their card. Be sure to remind them that it is only a sketch. You may want to review how the coin cell battery works once they all have their own.(20 mins)
  3. When each student is done with their sketch, give them the construction paper or cardstock. Have them do another sketch of their circuit.(10 mins)
  4. This time, when the student finishes the sketch of the circuit, they can ask you for copper tape. Be sure to approve their circuit first so that you can be sure they are using the copper tape properly. While students are waiting for approval and copper tape, have them decorate the front of their cards. If, during this work period, you need to break to finish next class, be sure to store the cards in such a way that none of the lights are on. Leaving the lights on will drain the batteries.(60 mins)
  5. Wrap up the activity however you choose. (10 mins)
Authors Ali Boreiko & Daniel deCórdoba

Tufts Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program • 200 Boston Ave. • Suite G810 • Medford, MA • 617-627-5888

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