Materials Testing

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Materials Testing
Author Alana Lustenberger
Keywords materials, properties, building, sturdy, 4th grade, columbus, dipersio
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description This activity involves having students explore the properties of different materials so that they are familiar with them when they choose their materials for a future project.
Lesson Objectives: This activity can be used to prime the class for a long design project where the students will be responsible for selecting the materials they would like to use. It teaches them about the different properties of materials and helps them to understand that different materials are wanted/needed for different applications
Materials Needed: The materials we used were foam, paperclips, cotton balls, rubber bands, straws, and a worksheet.
Preparation and Set Up: You can distribute the materials beforehand into separate bags, or just gather them from the center. Also make copies of the worksheet.
Procedure 1. Explain that all materials have different properties and that in this activity, the students will be exploring these. Make sure to mention that they will have to use what they learn today to pick the materials they will be using for future activities. 2. Pass out worksheets (or show it on the projector). Explain how each test is done and also talk about the ranking system. We did if the material stretches the most, give it a 6. If it stretches the least, give it a 1, and then order the rest corresponding to how stretchy they are within the 1 through 6 range. 3. Put the students in groups and pass out the materials. Make sure you stress teamwork and that both partners should be writing and doing the tests. 4. Bring the class together at the end and have students tell which materials were the stretchiest, heaviest, ect.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Materials-testing-worksheet-2014.docx
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) This was used for the service learning curriculum

Basic Programming

ACTIVITY HEADER

Name of Activity Basic Programming
Author Ali Boreiko
Keywords touch sensor, ultrasonic sensor, sound sensor, light sensor, simple programming, introduction to NXT, introduction to Mindstorms, introduction to programming
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students complete a simple series of programming challenges to familiarize themselves with Mindstorms programming.
Lesson Objectives: For students to become more competent programmers
Materials Needed: computers with Mindstorms, whiteboard/chalkboard, a list of simple challenges OPTIONAL: pre-built cars
Preparation and Set Up: 1. Decide what functions of the NXT will be most useful for your class. Do you want them to know how do use a particular sensor? How to steer the robot? How to make the NXT make noises? Then, create a list of ~8 challenges that target these areas of Mindstorm programming (see our example under “References”). Create the challenges so that harder challenges only require the students to change 1 or 2 parts of their program. That way they will see the direct connection between the change they made and the robot’s actions. They will also feel accomplished if they are able to complete more challenges.

2. You may have the students pre-build a car, but the activity can also be done by programming other things (e.g. an NXT arm)

Procedure
  1. Ask each group to put the necessary sensor/equipment onto their robot.
  2. As a class, program the first challenge. As kids complete the challenge, have them come up to the board and demonstrate the challenge to either STOMPer. Once the students have accomplished and demonstrated the challenge, write their name on the board next to the challenge.
  3. Once kids have finished the first challenge, they may go on to harder challenges–but they must complete them in order!
  4. As kids complete the challenges, check off the challenges under their names. This way, you recognize kids who stay focused on the tasks.
Extensions: This activity can be adapted for various skill levels by simply making the challenges more difficult or adding more difficult ones at the end of the list
Previous Activity (if applicable) Introductory building
References Our list of touch sensor challenges
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Introduciton to Mindstorms, Introduction to NXT Robotics

Different Beaks

ACTIVITY HEADER

Name of Activity Different Beaks
Author Emma Coltoff, Pami Anderson
Keywords beaks, birds, animals, adaptations
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students identify the pros and cons of each beak for “consuming” each different food source.
Lesson Objectives: learn to identify the pros and cons of different forms of the same physical trait
Materials Needed: Beaks: spoons, clothespins, pipettes, chopsticks, pliers, etc.
Food sources: beans, rice, seeds, grain, gummy worms in straw, etc.
Preparation and Set Up: Put each of the food sources in a separate container
Procedure
  1. Distribute each of the different types of  ”beaks.”
  2. Distribute each of the food sources to separate groups.
  3. Have the groups use their beak to try to “consume” the food source and record their observations.
  4. Rotate the food sources until all groups have tried each of the food sources.
Extensions: More food sources, more beak options.
Modifications: Instead of using beaks, try a different physical trait.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Animal-Adaptations1.docx
Previous Activity (if applicable) Birds and Their Habitats
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Animal Adaptations

Birds and Their Habitats

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Birds and Their Habitats
Author Emma Coltoff, Pami Anderson
Keywords animal, adaptations, habitat, birds, climate
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students are assigned a habitat and must sketch a bird with physical traits that are essential to surviving in that habitat.
Lesson Objectives: identifying birds for certain habitats, emphasizing observed characteristics of animals that are fully inherited and characteristics that are affected by the climate or environment
Materials Needed: Worksheet and writing utensils
Preparation and Set Up: Assign habitats to groups/pairs within the class. Give background on the habitats.
Procedure
  1. Introduce the six habitats:
    1. Wetlands
    2. Arctic
    3. Desert
    4. Rainforest
    5. Aquatic
    6. Grasslands
  2. Assign each of the habitats to a group of students.
  3. Help the students to sketch a bird and label the characteristics of the bird that are essential to its survival in that particular habitat.
Modifications: * Add more habitats
* Have students label which traits are inherited and which are adapted
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Animal Adaptations
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Animal-Adaptations.docx

Three Little Pigs IEL

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Three Little Pigs IEL
Author Matthew Mueller and Sarah Copolla
Keywords integrating engineering and literacy three little pigs client based design
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5
Time 3 Hours Total, 4+ Hours Total
Brief Description The story of the three little pigs was introduced and the problems of pig 1, pig 2, and the wolf were posed to the children. The two pigs needed stronger houses, but still wanted their houses to look like straw and sticks respectively (it was the trade of their family), and the wolf needed help knocking down the brick house but the design needed to be portable so he can carry it with him.
Lesson Objectives: Looking at the characters in the story as clients that are being designed for. They have problems that need to be solved, but each client has certain constraints that need to be considered.
Materials Needed: Straw, sticks, any found or reasonable material that the kids propose and can use to build their design.
Necessary Background Know the three little pig story.
Procedure Tell a brief version of the story or have the kids tell it.  Point out each potential client, their problems, and what the constraints of the solution might have.  Each kids will then brainstorm, design, and request materials they can use to prototype their design.
Extensions: They can test and redesign their ideas if they have time.

Intro to Scratch

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Intro to Scratch
Author STOMP
Keywords Scratch, Programming, User Input
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students learn basic programming concepts with Scratch, including giving a sprite instructions and having a sprite respond to user input.
Lesson Objectives: - Students are introduced to the Scratch block interface
- Students learn basic motion blocks, including glide, move __ steps, and change x or y
- In the second half of the lesson students get the sprite to move using user input instead of basic instructions
Materials Needed: Computers, preferably one for each student.
Preparation and Set Up: None
Necessary Background None
Procedure If students have never seen programming before, it may be a good idea to start with human robot to get them used to the idea. Another good intro game is to set up the floor space as an xy plane with positive and negative axes. Then do a “simon says” type game where you tell the students coordinate pairs and have them go to the approximate location on the floor. This can be a good way to get them used to the idea of the Cartesian plane if they’ve never seen it before. Show the students an example of a sprite moving to the four corners, and write on the board the blocks they’ll need. Then let the students explore the program a little with this goal in mind until they figure out a way to do it (there are multiple right ways). In the second hour have them move the sprite again, this time using key presses or mouse clicks. Key presses are the easiest, using the when ___ key pressed block under the events section.
Extensions: Challenge the students by asking them to try moving the sprite two or three different ways.

Adaptations Box

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Adaptations Box
Author Emma Coltoff, Pami Anderson
Keywords animal, adaptations, habitat
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description (less than 1 hour)
STOMPers lead students in selecting physical character traits for an animal that can survive in the chosen habitat.
See link for reference: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/ATG/data/released/0542-BehmLisa/
Lesson Objectives: to understand different physical character traits/adaptations necessary for specific habitats
Materials Needed: 1-2 shoeboxes, colored paper (for fur), cotton balls (fat), felt (feet), googly eyes (two sizes), pipe cleaners (ears), paper plate (head), popsicle sticks (neck), other (additional body parts), tape
Preparation and Set Up: attach paper plate head and neck to shoebox
Necessary Background Basic understanding of which characteristics are necessary for which habitats and why.
Procedure
  1. Select habitat
  2. Pick two students as volunteers to attach body parts to “body” (shoebox)
  3. Go through options for feet, ears, eyes, etc. with discussion of why one choice is the best
Modifications: Additional body parts can be added as deemed necessary.
Online Reference(s) http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/ATG/data/released/0542-BehmLisa/
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Animal Adaptations

City Buildings

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity City Buildings
Author Laura Fradin
Keywords civil engineering, non-NXT, non-lego, 5th grade, aguayo
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will construct buildings that belong in a city using a variety of different materials.
Lesson Objectives: -reinforce the engineering design process
-understand what civil engineers do
Materials Needed: -tape
-glue
-paper
-popsicle sticks
-cardboard
-egg cartons
-legos (if a younger group of kids)
-any other materials that might challenge kids to build a structure
Preparation and Set Up: -arrange students in pairs
-brainstorm various types of buildings needed in a city
-show students examples of non-traditional architecture and encourage them to think outside the box of normal rectangular structures.
Procedure
  1. As a class,  brainstorm building/places in a city that a civil engineer may have to design and build. Examples include: hospital, school, museum, police department, apartment building, houses, playgrounds/parks, airport, cafe/restaurants, church, bank, bridge, bookstore, etc.
  2. Arrange students in pairs and allow each group to chose ONE of the buildings/structures they want to build.
  3. Groups will first PLAN AND DRAW what they want their building to look like and what it will be made out of. Have students show their STOMP teacher the design before getting materials.
  4. Let students build. If they finish early, have them decorate it.
  5. Present.
Extensions: To make the challenge more difficult, limit students to only using one material to build.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Engineering-Let’s Build a City!

Communication Towers

ACTIVITY HEADER

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)

Frankenstein’s Robot

ACTIVITY HEADER

Name of Activity Frankenstein’s Robot
Author Charlie and Laura +Devyn and Alli’s Minigroup
Keywords Frankenscience, Introduction to NXT, sensors, instructions
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Time 4+ Hours Total
Brief Description Providing students “Frank” the NXT brick, and walking them through the process of making Frank functional. This activity is an intro to NXT, so instructions are there to guide students as they become comfortable with new parts. Parts should be entirely interchangeable between robots.
Lesson Objectives: Personification of sensors
Confidence in using individual sensors and motors
Ability to combine a number of simple parts to create a more complex system
Materials Needed: NXT kits
Procedure Frank the robot is broken down into several steps of building and programming. The goal is for the kids to build a fully functional robot with advanced behavior without the children feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of the project.

Frank is introduced to the children as just an NXT brick. we comment on how Frank wants to be more mobile and introduce the deigns for the legs of frank the robot

Building Instructions [Frank the robot[moters+frame]]

distribute the PDF of the instructions to the kids, and the instructions should be intuitive enough for the kids to follow along. an NXT mindstorms program should also be developed that the kids can follow along as it’s programmed ( highly recommended to code and debug before giving to the kids)

once the kids have built frank up to the point of the instructions finish at, then the kids should bring out the laptops and start programming the motors. these small steps will show the kids that programming and building are not actually two separate tasks, but opposite sides of the same coin. this also allows for multiple iterations of the engineering design process.

once the kids have finished with the motors and basic frame then the other PDF’s should be distributed.

 

 

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