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.

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.

 

 

Electricity and Magnetism Challenge

Name of Activity Electricity and Magnetism Challenge
Author STOMP
Keywords electricity, magnetism
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description (Final Project) Students must complete 3 electricity and magnetism-related challenges to earn their STOMP diplomas
Lesson Objectives: -Give students a series of tasks in which they must work together and use the knowledge gained throughout the STOMP semester to illustrate what they have learned
Materials Needed: -Challenge Papers (attached)
-diploma (optional – reward for completing all challenges)
for individual challenges…
-Static Electricity: balloon, paper
-Circuits: Playdoh, LEDs, 9V battery
-Magnetism: Playdoh
Preparation and Set Up: -Put students in groups (if not already done)
-Print out a copy of each challenge for each group, and fold up the challenges so they cannot be seen
-Place all materials on table for kids to access
Necessary Background None
Procedure 1. Hand out a copy of the first challenge to each group, and countdown to when the challenge can be opened 2. Students complete challenges and come to STOMPer when finished.  If done correctly, group moves onto next challenge 3. When all challenges are completed, kids get their diploma (Note: some groups will finish before others, so its a good idea to have a “bonus challenge” in mind – we had kids build a circuit that has both parallel and series components when they were finished)
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Stomp-Electricity-and-Magnetism.docx
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Electricity and Magnetism

Mini City

Name of Activity Build a Mini City
Author STOMP
Keywords city, sturdy structures, intro to types of engineering, boat, bridge, tower, earthquake, tornado, traffic system, non-lego
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7
Time 3 Hours Total
Brief Description Using a variety of materials provided and unlimited tape, the students were asked to create a “mini city” that contained 3 of 4 options. The 4 options were making a tall (2 feet) structure that is earthquake and tornado proof, a boat that can hold 20 pennies, a bridge that is at least 1 foot long to connect to another city and wide enough to allow a lego car to travel between the cities, and a traffic system.
Lesson Objectives: -Further encourage the use of the engineering design process.
-Encourage group collaboration.
-Allow the students to use and extend on the knowledge they gained throughout the introduction to types of engineering unit.
Materials Needed: cardboard, construction paper, aluminum foil, tape, popsicle sticks, lego wheels and pieces, pipe cleaners, plastic box filled with water, markers, pennies, fan
Preparation and Set Up: -Collect and separate all materials, so that each group has the same amount.
-Print out enough worksheets for the class.
-Fill plastic box with water.
-Precut pieces of tape for each group to start with.
-Discuss the challenge and possible ideas for ways to work in a group.
-Pass out worksheets and materials.
Procedure 1. Introduce the challenge. Discuss the exact details of each of the parts of the city and be sure to emphasize that they should make sure to complete at least 3 of the challenges. Also, discuss the timeline of work. We provided the students with 3 class periods, but that included the introduction and sharing their cities at the end. 2. Hand out worksheets. 3. Have students outline their ideas and make one plan as a group for their city including marking which materials will be used for what and how they will get the work done. 4. Hand out materials. 5. Encourage testing and redesigning. 6. Once ready, have each group describe their city to the class and test for earthquake and tornado proof structures (if applicable). 7. Discuss the challenges and successes of the students and their structures.
Extensions: -Limit the amount of tape.
-Provide different or fewer materials.
-Require the tower to be taller, the bridge to be longer, etc.
-Add another requirement.
Online Reference(s) http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/2013/07/16/boat-building/;http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/2013/06/28/build-a-tower/;http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/2013/07/01/ramp-cars-wheel-and-axle/;http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/popsicle-stick-bridges/
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Types of Engineering

Little Johnny and his Pet Cow

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

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

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

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
Procedure
  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

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

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
Procedure
  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.

NXT Car

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

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

NXT Calculator

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity NXT Calculator
Author Jay Clark
Keywords NXT, calculator, build, operate, numbers, math block, display block, user interface, 1 Hour Total
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students build and program an NXT calculator that can operate on two numbers.
Lesson Objectives: Programming with the math block
Learning the display block
A first exposure to user interfaces
Materials Needed: 1 NXT kit per group
Computers with Minstorms NXT software
Procedure This is an open ended challenge that is sure to challenge students’ programming knowledge and yield many unique solutions. Students must think about how they are going to input numbers, and how they are going to choose the operator.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/l.jpg

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