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 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/worksheet-for-aeronautical-engineering.docx
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Types of Engineering

Popsicle Stick Bridges

Name of Activity Popsicle Stick Bridges
Author STOMP
Keywords popsicle sticks, civil engineering, forces, sturdy structures
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Give the students 50 popsicle sticks and a set amount of tape and ask them to design a bridge 2 feet long and as wide as their palm. Test the bridges to see how many books they can hold.
Lesson Objectives: Introduce students to the qualities of sturdy structures and the engineering design process (encourage testing).
Materials Needed: popsicle sticks, tape, books, desks/tables
Preparation and Set Up: Print out enough worksheets for the class. Count out the number of popsicle sticks for each group and cut up the tape.
Procedure 1. Outline the activity–the students must make a bridge to hold as many books as possible given limited materials and certain length requirements (identify the problem). 2. Have each student design a possible bridge (develop possible solutions). 3. Have the groups discuss their designs and come up with one design as a group (Select the Best Possible Solution). 4. Distribute the materials once the group has shown you they have a design. 5. Each group constructs a prototype. 6. Groups test by adding books and evaluates their bridge. 7. They continue to redesign and test. 8. Wrap up by discussing the most and least effective solutions each group tried.
Extensions: To increase the difficulty, you may add or take away materials. For example, you can ask them to make the same length bridge with fewer popsicle sticks or also give each group other materials like paper and straws and require a longer bridge. In addition, limiting the amount of tape can force students to have to come up with more creative solutions.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/worksheet-for-popsicle-stick-bridges-Copy-Copy.docx
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Introduction to Engineering/Sturdy Structures

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

Wheel and Axle Lesson





Name of Activity Wheel and Axle Lesson
Author STOMP
Keywords Simple Machines, Wheel and Axle, NXT
Subject NXTs, Simple Machines
Grade Level 5, 6, 7, 8
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students work in groups to build a vehicle using NXT kits that includes a wheel and axle and has to be able to hold a ball. To discourage everyone from using a basic car design, their designs cannot have exactly four wheels. Once their design is complete (including motors and the NXT brick), each group learns how to use on brick programming to make their vehicle move the ball across their workspace.
Lesson Objectives: Improved understanding of the wheel and axle as a simple machine. Students gain skill building with NXT kits and using on brick programming.
Materials Needed: -NXT kits (1 per group)
-extra Legos
Preparation and Set Up: Consider bringing extra Legos for groups to build with, prepare to talk about the project in terms of the Engineering Design Process and simple machines.
Necessary Background None
  1. Introduce the project by talking about the importance of the wheel and axle as a simple machine.
  2. Tell them the objective: to make a vehicle that can’t have exactly four wheels, includes the NXT brick and motors, and is capable of carrying the NXT ball across their workspace.
  3. Explain the project in terms of the Engineering Design Process, discuss which steps would be best to focus on for this project.
    • We drew the entire Engineering Design Process on the board and went over each step, asking them how they though the steps fit into this activity. At the end of the discussion we decided that the most important steps for this activity would probably be developing/ sketching solutions, prototyping, and communicating with other group members.
  4. Separate students into groups of 3-5.
    •  Most teachers already have some method of grouping students, or know which students shouldn’t be in a group together.
  5.  Give them the rest of the first hour to sketch a design and then build it.
    • Make sure each group includes motors and the NXT brick into their design.
  6.  If the lesson is taking place over two, one-hour blocks leave 5-10 minutes at the end of the first block for cleanup.
  7. Once a group has their vehicle fully assembled, show them how to make it move using on brick programming.
    • Make sure each member of the group gets a chance to try programming, and show them how to do things like change direction, turn, and loop through a set of instructions.
  8. If any of the groups finish early, show them how to add sensors and change the on brick program to respond to sensor input.
  9. Leave 15 minutes for each group to demonstrate their finished vehicle and clean up.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Simple Machines

Introduction to Simple Machines





Name of Activity Introduction to Simple Machines
Author STOMP
Keywords Simple Machines, Pulley, Wheel and Axle, Gears, Wedge, Inclined Plane, Lever, Screw
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Set up an example of each type of simple machine machine at stations around the classroom. Each station should have NXT kits, or Lego/ found materials, available for students to try mimic building each machine of their own design. It is important that for each simple machine there is an example of the machine being used in the real world (this can be done with pictures at each station, or video). This will help to get them to think about their own real world examples. End with a general discussion and “show and tell” of the simple machines they made during class. If there is time also discuss how each simple machine could be improved.
Lesson Objectives: Introduce students to the seven simple machines. Prepare students for a curriculum involving building/ using simple machines.
Materials Needed: -NXT kits (for preparing examples)
-Lego simple machine kits
-real world example pictures/ videos
-Legos in classroom for students to make their own
-assorted found materials
Preparation and Set Up: Construct (out of Legos or found materials) an example of each simple machine before going into the class. Find a way to display pictures or video of a real world example of each simple machine to display at each station.
Necessary Background None
  1. Prepare an example of each simple machine before going into the classroom
    • Note: All of the simple machines could be built with either Legos or found materials. We found that Legos worked best for building the inclined plane, wheel and axle, pulley, gear, and lever examples. We used Tetrix to demonstrate the screw and a doorstop to demonstrate the wedge.
  2. Print a picture of a real world example for each simple machine.
  3. Before going to the classroom, make sure they have enough NXT kits, assorted Legos, or found materials for students to build their own simple machine examples.
    • Consider bringing in extra supplies and Lego pieces since NXT kits don’t work extremely well for building every type of simple machine.
  4. In the classroom, introduce each simple machine and set up the examples at seven stations around the classroom. Ask them to think about (or write down) what tasks each machine could be used for, how do they make these tasks easier, and how the examples that the STOMPers built could be better.
  5. Allow students to walk around between stations and attempt to build their own version of each simple machine.
  6. Leave the last 10 minutes for students to present the examples they built and discuss the points they considered during the class time.
    • More time might be required depending on how much cleanup there is.

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






Name of Activity NXT Car
Author STOMP
Keywords NXT, car, robotics
Subject NXTs, LEGO Building
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students construct a basic car that can move and turn using the NXT kit.
Lesson Objectives: Learn how the NXT pieces work together to create structures and how to incorporate motors and the NXT brick elements into the design.
Materials Needed: NXT Kit
Preparation and Set Up: None
Necessary Background Basic understanding of how cars move and turn, as well as familiarity with the NXT kit.
Procedure 1. Describe the goal and mention basic guidelines (at least 2 wheels, ability to turn). 2. Brainstorm potential ideas or structures in individual groups. 3. Build the cars.
Extensions: None
Modifications: More elaborate design guidelines could be given.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) NXT Robotics

The Perfect Puppy





Name of Activity The Perfect Puppy
Author Alison Boreiko
Keywords NXT, introduction to robotics, animal, dog, programming, sensors
Subject NXTs, LEGO Building
Grade Level 5
Time 3 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will combine their knowledge of sensors, programming and building to create their “perfect puppy.”
Lesson Objectives: -Teach students to program with more than one sensor
Materials Needed: -Project Proposal Worksheet
-NXT kits
-*optional: Craft Supplies (for decorating the dog)
Preparation and Set Up: -Make copies of the Project Proposal Worksheets (1 per group)
Procedure 1. Give instructions: Students are to design a pet dog. The dog should use two sensors to mimic dog behavior. 2. Have the students fill out a project proposal form. It’s important that they clearly explain which behavior they wish to mimic and how they will go about mimicking it with the NXT. Demand precision and specificity in their project proposals. 3. Once a group has had their proposal approved, give them their NXT kit and their laptop so they can get to work!
Extensions: Students can continue to develop their robotic dogs.

Act Out Electricity!





Name of Activity Act Out Electricity!
Author Emily Taintor
Keywords electricity, interactive, act out, non-lego, 4-6, introduction to electricity, resistor, lamp, bulb, wire, battery, switch, 1 Hour Total
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students are assigned to be a circuit element and act it out in a complete circuit.
Lesson Objectives: - Solidify the students’ understanding of electricity.
- Give the students a physical understanding of what different circuit elements do.
Materials Needed: - Attached materials.
Preparation and Set Up: - Split the students into small groups.
- Give each group a set of materials.
- Give each group a goal for their circuit so that they can set it up and act it out to show the rest of the class.
Necessary Background - Electricity terms:
– Resistor
– Battery
– Switch
– Lamp (Light Bulb)
– Motor
  1. Split the students up into groups.
  2. Assign each group a specific goal for a circuit.
  3. Let the students take time to plan out how they will act it out with the given resources.
  4. Have the students act out their circuit for the rest of the class.
Extensions: Add in more complex circuit elements, programming, or use of breadboards.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Materials.pdf
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Introduction to Electricity

Smiley Genetic Engineering





Name of Activity Smiley Genetic Engineering
Author Jay Clark
Keywords flip coins, coins, baby, genetics, genetic makeup, breeding, specifications, dominant, recessive, traits, heterogenous, homogenous, 1 Hour Total
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students flip coins to determine the genetic makeup of a baby smiley from mom and dad smilies. Next, the children “breed” their smilies to try and make a specific smiley.
Lesson Objectives: - learn about dominant and recessive traits.
- learn about heterogeneous and homogeneous genetic makeup.
- learn about genetic engineering.
Materials Needed: 1 unique smiley for every student in class with genetic makeup.
key for genetic makeup
1 coin per student
Baby smiley worksheet
Preparation and Set Up: Print out attached documents, or make your own.
Procedure Lesson – 10 minutes Ask all brunettes to raise their hands Ask all blonds to raise their hands Why are there more brunettes? Brown hair is a dominant trait! explain how if you inherit a dominant gene, you will show that trait no matter what gene it’s paired with.   What are some other inherited traits? (have students see who has dominant and recessive traits) widows peak (dominant) hitchhikers thumb (recessive) rolling tongue (dominant) left thumb over right when hands are interlaced (left over right – dominant) attached/detached earlobes (detached – dominant) You inherit traits from your parents! which gene you inherit from each parent is just like a flip of a coin! Talk with students about genetic engineering- breeding to achieve favorable traits. This includes seedless fruit, large vegetables, and fast horses.   Activity – 40 minutes Hand out a smiley and a coin to each student. With their partner, students should have a set of ‘parent’ smileys, and two coins. One trait at a time, students flip coins to determine which gene is passed on from the parent smiley. Heads means the first trait is passed, tails means the second trait is passed. Students fill out their ‘baby smiley’ worksheet to determine the genetic make up of the baby, and then draw the child in the box. activity phase two – if time permits Students draw a smiley using their favorite traits, and go around the room flipping coins with other smilies to try and ‘breed’ their favorite smiley. Students should keep track of how many generations it took them to arrive at their smiley.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/o.png
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/p.png
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/q.pdf
Online Reference(s) http://sciencespot.net/Media/gen_smilewkst1.pdf

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