Squishy Circuits and Circuit Diagrams

ACTIVITY HEADER

Name of Activity Squishy Circuits and Circuit Diagrams
Author STOMP
Keywords squishy circuit, circuit diagram, electricity
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Using experience with squishy circuits and the symbols for elements in a circuit, students will practice building and drawing circuits. The circuits will have batteries, LED lights, and Play-Doh as resistors/wires (that bit can be confusing, especially when talking about short circuits!)
Lesson Objectives: The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to circuit diagrams and to get them to think about designing circuits. They will practice going back and forth between drawing circuits and building them. In addition, students will practice figuring out why a circuit isn’t working the way it’s meant to.
Materials Needed: Each group (2-3 students) should have:
9V battery
Play-Doh
2 LED lights
2 Alligator clips to connect the battery to the rest of the circuits
A worksheet with example circuits for them to build and room for them to draw the circuits that they build
Preparation and Set Up: While one person introduces the class, the other person can distribute materials and worksheets to each group.
Necessary Background Teachers should be familiar with the symbols used and with the idea of a short circuit and the idea that electrons flow through the path of least resistance.
Procedure
  • Start the class off by reviewing the different components of a circuit and their respective symbols (a good idea is to write these on the board so that everyone can see them).
  • While that’s going on, the other person can distribute materials.
  • Have the students fist try to look at an example circuit diagram and build it, showing the flow of electrons.
  • Then, have them build a new circuit and draw it.
  • After that, have them build a circuit from a diagram that has something wrong with it (a short circuit, an open circuit… etc), try to fix the circuit, and then fix the diagram and explain why it didn’t work.
  • Giving the students worksheets seems to work well for groups that go at their own pace. It also seems to keep the students focused especially when it comes to writing down and explaining their thoughts.
Extensions: If a group finishes early, they can play a game where one person draws a circuit (that either works or doesn’t) and the other person has to build it. If the circuit was purposefully designed to be broken, the other person also has to figure out how to fix it.
Modifications: use snap circuits instead of squishy circuits.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Electricity and Circuits

Snap Circuits and Conductivity

ACTIVITY HEADER

Name of Activity Snap Circuits and Conductivity
Author STOMP
Keywords conductivity, snap circuits, electricity
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Using snap circuits and the idea of conductive and insulating materials, the students will design a circuit to test whether various household items are insulators or conductors.
Lesson Objectives: The goal of this lesson is to introduce/review conductivity. Students will also practice designing experiments and practice building circuits.
Materials Needed: Each group (2-3 students) should have:
9V battery
snap circuits kit with wires, battery holder, resistor, LED light and/or lightbulb
household items (straws, wood, rubber bands, pennies, paperclips, paper, play-doh, plastic… etc)
a piece of paper to collect data
Preparation and Set Up: Make sure all snap circuit kits have the materials needed for the class. Make sure they don’t have the motors that have the detachable red fans as those are super distracting!!
Necessary Background Teachers should be familiar with conductivity and can also help students design their experiments to test the materials.
Procedure
  • While one person introduces the class, the other can distribute materials.
  • Before they start working, you should review what makes a good or bad conductor and why.
  • You can pretend that they are scientists trying to discover new materials for conducting electricity, or something similar – this is to get them to take down data and think about why certain materials conduct electricity.
  • Once the lesson is introduced, give them a couple minutes to discuss how they will test the conductivity of the different materials.
  • Let them see if they can think of a way, but if they seem really stuck, you can steer them towards building a circuit with a light build and replacing wire with the material they are testing, making sure the circuit is still closed.
  • Depending on whether the light bulb is in series or in parallel with the battery, the light bulb will either turn on or turn off when a good conductor is placed in the circuit.
Extensions: If students are done early, they can test other materials around the classroom. Another etension is to see if they can think of a way to rank the materials in order of conductivity.
Modifications: This activity can also be done with snap circuits.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Electricity and Circuits

Follow the Hand

ACTIVITY HEADER

Name of Activity Follow Hand- Ultrasonic Sensor
Author Leiny Garcia and Kenny Westerman
Keywords Ultrasonic Sensor
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students have to program the car robot to follow a hand or object.
Lesson Objectives: Introduce the Ultrasonic sensor while using prior knowledge of programming, including loops and switches.
Materials Needed: LEGO NXT kit
Computers
Preparation and Set Up: 1. Distribute NXT kits and computers
2. Pair up students
3. Worksheet to brainstorm programming
Necessary Background Programming with switches and loops
Procedure 1. Introduce how the ultrasonic sensor works if needed 2. Review programming with switches and loops 3. Introduce activity. Explain that the robot needs to follow the hand. When the hand is too far, then the robot must move forward. If the hand is too close, then the robot must stop. 4. Distribute materials 5. Program and test. 6. Final Demonstration.

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

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.

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)

Pet Training Activity

ACTIVITY HEADER

Name of Activity NXT Pet Training Activity – (Intro to Touch Sensor)
Author Leticia’s Group
Keywords NXT, animal, touch sensor
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 6
Time 4+ Hours Total
Brief Description This activity is designed for 6th graders to practice “training their animal robot” by using the touch sensor. Students brainstorm tricks for animal NXT robots. The level of difficulty can vary based on their familiarity with the touch sensor and estimated to last two weeks.
Lesson Objectives: Introduce students to the touch sensor by asking them to explore its properties through different ways of training your pet dog. It would require them to go through the design process and think through the ways we train our pets and how those commands can be translated and applied to the NXT animal robotics. Important for them to think about what sort of commands they are capable of programming that would work well on the robot.
Materials Needed: LEGO NXTS
Procedure The point of this activity is to train your pet dog using touch sensors. Some of the activities could be to see what happens or how the animal robot reacts when you pet its head or tail. One of the students tasks or goals should be to be able to program their robot so that when the touch sensor is pressed once it does a command and then pressing twice it does a different command. Possible solutions for them could be to get their robots to lift and shake a hand, twirl around, potentially use their sound sensor to bark, or wag their tail.

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.

 

 

Chemical Reactions

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Chemical Reactions
Author Amanda Rock and Daniella DiPaola
Keywords chemical reactions, chemistry, chemical engineering, baking soda, vinegar, observations, experiment, recording data
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students perform an experiment mixing together unidentified materials to find which ones create a chemical reaction.
Lesson Objectives: Introduction to Chemical Engineering and chemical reactions. Teach students about the importance of making good observations and recording data.
Materials Needed: -Small measuring cups: http://www.amazon.com/Medline-Plastic-Medicine-Graduated-Ounce/dp/B000IFBFXI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392491272&sr=8-1&keywords=measuring+cups+medicine
-baking soda
-vinegar
-flour, cornstarch, other white solid materials
-water, tea, other liquids
-eye droppers
-spoons
Preparation and Set Up: Make a worksheet with a table for the students to fill out for each combination of solid and liquid.
We pre-measured the materials into the small cups to save time but the students could do it if you have enough time. We finished the class in less than an hour when we measured them out. We used 1 Tsp of material in each cup.
Procedure 1. Number the bottom of the cups (same number for same material) so the students can tell them apart for their data because you do not tell them what the materials are, they guess at the end. 2. Measure out 1 Tsp of each material into the cups, unless you want the students to do their own measuring, then you can just give them each a larger cup with the material in it. 3. Introduce the students to Chemical Engineering, experiments, safe lab practices (no tasting), what makes a good observation, how to record accurate data. 4. Explain to the students that they want to combine each solid with each liquid only once per combination. They should make their observations of the materials before and after they combine them. Make sure they record the numbers on the bottom of each cup. 5. Pass out worksheets with blank table and materials. If you are letting the students make the measurements explain to them that there is measurements on the cups and they can use the spoon for the solid materials and the eyedropper for the liquids. 6. Let students  combine materials and fill out the table. 7. Do a wrap up about what they observed and what they think the materials were. 8. We did a demonstration of combining a lot of baking soda and vinegar so the kids could see a big reaction.  I suggest doing this over a bucket so the reaction can flow out of the cup that the baking soda is in when you pour the vinegar in.
Extensions: Do a demonstration at the end with a lot of baking soda and vinegar.
If you have the chance to go outside you could do a diet coke and mentos demonstration.
Or show youtube videos of diet coke and mentos.
Modifications: Measure out the materials ahead of time or let the students measure them out depending on how much time you have during class.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Introduction to Engineering

Snap Circuits

ACTIVITY HEADER

Name of Activity Snap Circuits Intro
Author STOMP
Keywords electrical engineering, circuits
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Activity involves building series and parallel circuits with LED’s, resistors, and switches
Lesson Objectives: To introduce students to the Snap Circuit Kits
Materials Needed: Snap Circuit Kits
Preparation and Set Up: Make copies of worksheets

arrange students in pairs

Distribute Kits and

Necessary Background Parallel

Series

Resistors

LED’s

Switch

conductor

inductor

Procedure 1. Discuss and introduce the vocabulary 2. have the students design any circuit they want (multiple LED’s in series/parallel) on a worksheet, 3. have them predict what will happen 4. build and write observations

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