Same End, Two Ways of Getting There

ACTIVITY HEADER

Name of Activity Same End, Two Ways of Getting There.
Author Matt’s mini group
Keywords NXT, Ultrasonic sensor, light sensor, understanding how they work
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Understanding how sensors really work and use different sensors to accomplish the same goal.
Lesson Objectives: To understand how the ultrasonic sensor works. Use two sensors to accomplish same goal.
Materials Needed: Already built NXT car, bouncy ball to demonstrate ultrasonic sensor, flashlight maybe to demonstrate how the light sensor senses both reflected and ambient light and the difference between the two.
Preparation and Set Up: Already built car and a thorough understanding of how the sensors truly work.
Necessary Background Understand how the sensors are able to accurately sense whatever it is they sense.
Procedure In order to understand how untrasonic sensors work, children can throw a bouncy ball against a wall from different distances and see how it takes longer to come back to them when they are farther and less time when they are closer.  In order to understand how the light sensor works, they should pull up the real time reading of the light sensor on the brick and hold it up to different lightings and see how the reading changes and test how it is different when sensing reflection as opposed to ambient light and use these readings to set the threshold to put in the program.  A flashlight can also be held up to a piece of paper at different distances and see how the intensity changes.  The challenge will then be to have a car go back and forth between two walls using the ultrasonic sensor on one side and the light sensor on the other side.
Extensions: Use a different sensor as well to accomplish the same goal if a group is far ahead.
Previous Activity (if applicable) Basic programming knowledge and basic sensor usage.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) NXT

Electromagnetism Superheros

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Electromagnetism Superheros
Author STOMP
Keywords electricity, magnetism, final, project, non-lego
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will have two weeks to design and build something to help a superhero rescue all of the paper clips in the city of Boston from an evil supervillain hiding in a cave.
Lesson Objectives: -Incorporate both electricity and magnetism in a final project.
-Encourage students to design while thinking about a client and what he/she will need to accomplish.
Encourage students to be creative and reaffirm that there is no one correct answer.
Materials Needed: For the first week, some materials should be replied. You may then allow students to request certain materials (within reason) if they feel it would help their design for the next and final week.

First Week Materials:
-Batteries
-Wire
-Lightbulbs (both LED and standard small lightbulbs)
-Playdough
-Nails
-Paperclips, for testing
-Assorted materials such as paper, felt, tape, popsicle sticks, etc.

Preparation and Set Up: -Collect supplies.
-Prepare a model of the supervillain in its cave (can be accomplished by a bunch of paperclips within a dark box)
-May consider bringing large pieces of paper in for students to draw their designs.
-Divide students into groups of 2-3.
Necessary Background Students should now have an excellent background on both electricity and magnetism. They should realize that a combination of electricity and magnetism will be needed to successfully complete this activity.
Procedure
  1. Divide students into groups of 2 or 3.
  2. Describe to them the problem that they will have to solve: a supervillain has taken over all of the paperclips in Boston and is now hiding out in a cave! If you were to design someone to help the superhero save the city, what would you design?
  3. Distribute large pieces of paper and encourage students to brainstorm for quite a while. Think about what problems they need to solve and how they will design for a specific person.
  4. Allow students to build a little with the provided materials in week 1 and request materials for week 2.
  5. In week 2, have students complete their designs and demonstrate to the class if they have time.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Electricity & Magnetism

Squishy Circuits

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Squishy Circuits
Author STOMP
Keywords squishy, circuit, electricity, LED, playdough, non-lego
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Squishy circuits allows for students to make a simplified circuit using Playdough as wires.
Lesson Objectives: Students will be introduced to the concept of circuits and attempt to make their own circuit using a power source, conductive wires, and lightbulbs.
Materials Needed: -Playdough
-9V Batteries
-LED Lightbulbs
Preparation and Set Up: -Pack supplies. Ensure that there are extras of everything, in case a battery has died or some of the LEDs are not functioning properly.
-Arrange students in pairs.
-Distribute materials.
Necessary Background Students should be introduced to the concept of circuits as well as the necessary components to each circuit. What are some common circuits that we use every day? It may be helpful also to explain to them the properties of Playdough that would make it useful in a circuit.
Procedure
  1. Arrange students in pairs.
  2. Distribute materials.
  3. Allow students to spend some time trying to get the LEDs to light up themselves, offering guidance only when deemed necessary.
  4. If students are still stumped, it may be time to give hints to them as to why their circuit is not working. The most common issue is that the Playdough wires will be touching. Some groups may not even make two separate wires.
  5. Ensure students understand why their circuit is or is not working by the end of the activity (1-2 weeks, as you see fit).
Online Reference(s) https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1T-p5pOAGi-hcP1cxoq0BkhJe0pQJLhXQcywRkfWAWCQ/edit?usp=sharing
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Electricity & Magnetism

Rube Goldberg Machines

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Rube Goldberg Machine
Author STOMP
Keywords cause and effect, LEGO nxt programming, mental math, hands on, few instructions, final project
Subject NXTs, Non-LEGO
Grade Level 5
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description The Rube Goldberg machines are a great way to engage children in team work, cause and effect relationships, and resourceful thinking. The objective is to have some end target / object/ or goal that is a result of a series of domino-like chain reactions.
Lesson Objectives: We are going to split the class in half (6 people in 2 groups). Each group will have the opportunity to build any type of cause and effect machine with the end goal of making a paper airplane fly. They are only allowed to use all the resources we provide (or any related objects in class). One rule we are incorporating to finish off our LEGO NXT programming unit, is that the students have to include some sort of LEGO robot movement in their Rube GoldbergMachine. The objective to have both groups make the airplane fly with 2 original and unique engineering designs.
Materials Needed: Materials we are providing – LEGO nxt robots and computers to program, marbles, cups, dominos, string, balloons, books, rulers, balls.
Preparation and Set Up: 10 minutes (if robots are already built)
Necessary Background None
Procedure 1. Need to make an airplane fly with a cause and effectRube Goldberg machine 2. Programming and robotics included – research Rube Goldberg machines and concepts 3. Kids solutions will vary 4. 2 groups will have the opportunity to redesign their projects on the last day of class Dec. 6th if needed 5. Prototypes will be designed and tested with materials provided 6. Testing the solutions at the end 7. Have the students draw out their designs and materials used in the prototype 8. Redesign (2nd lesson) Why did it work? Why did it not work?
Extensions: none
Modifications: none
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Rube-Goldberg.docx
Online Reference(s) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzDe9tNlCP4
Previous Activity (if applicable) n/a
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) LEGO NXT programming/ Computer Programming Introduction

Say Hello!

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Say Hello!
Author Laura Fradin, Jake Hellman
Keywords NXT, programming, mindstorms, robotics, aguayo, 5th grade, sensors
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 5
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students build and program robots that “interact” with the outside world using a sensor.
Lesson Objectives: -Practice building with NXT kits
-Learn how sensors work and where they should be placed in order to work
-Basic Mindstorm Programming
Materials Needed: -NXT kits
-laptops
Preparation and Set Up: Jake and I made two example robots with two example programs to give them an idea of how sensors work and a very basic program would be done.
(The easy example programs, “Say Hello” and “Touch Sensor”, are attached and on the outline)
Procedure 1) Introduce the Challenge The Challenge: Build a robot (or modify your robot from last week) that “says hello” to you. This means that it acknowledges your existence it some way. This can be it actually saying hello as in our example program, or can merely have it react (back up, turn, make a noise, display a picture, etc.) to a certain stimulus (light, sound, etc). 2) Split students into smaller groups. Run the example program. Have the students tell you what the robot did. Then go through and go step by step to make the program they just witnessed. 3) Have students plan what they want to do (what sensors they will use, what the robot will do after the sensor is activated, etc) 4) Hand out NXT kits. Allow students to build for one class period. 5) The second class period/hour should be spent programming, testing, and re-programming. 6) Allow students to present
Extensions: -use more than one sensor (create a longer code)
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/SayHelloOutlinePartI.pdf

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

Hydrogen Power

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Hydrogen Power
Author STOMP
Keywords hydrogen, hydrogen power, cars, balloons, power
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Teach students about hydrogen power. Then get them to make cars that are powered by balloons.
Lesson Objectives: Teach students about hydrogen power as an alternative fuel for cars.
Materials Needed: Individual size milk cartons, balloons, axles, wheels, markers to decorate cars, tape
Preparation and Set Up: Collect and clean out the milk cartons. Make sure the axles are long enough to go through the cartons. Perhaps experiment with different wheels to find which ones work best.
Procedure Teach about hydrogen power and why people are considering it. Do worksheet. Do activity.
Extensions: Race the cars! Use different size balloons and compare how fast and how far the cars go.
Modifications: The link shows a picture with the balloon on top of the car- but it works best if it is on the back of the car. The students figured this out on their own- so it might be best to let them experiment and learn it by themselves…
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/j2.doc
Online Reference(s) http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/site/mslo/menuitem.3a0656639de62ad593598e10d373a0a0/?vgnextoid=c90d8b6244277110VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default

Hydrogen Power

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Hydrogen Power
Author STOMP
Keywords hydrogen, hydrogen power, cars, balloons, power
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Teach students about hydrogen power. Then get them to make cars that are powered by balloons.
Lesson Objectives: Teach students about hydrogen power as an alternative fuel for cars.
Materials Needed: Individual size milk cartons, balloons, axles, wheels, markers to decorate cars, tape
Preparation and Set Up: Collect and clean out the milk cartons. Make sure the axles are long enough to go through the cartons. Perhaps experiment with different wheels to find which ones work best.
Procedure Teach about hydrogen power and why people are considering it. Do worksheet. Do activity.
Extensions: Race the cars! Use different size balloons and compare how fast and how far the cars go.
Modifications: The link shows a picture with the balloon on top of the car- but it works best if it is on the back of the car. The students figured this out on their own- so it might be best to let them experiment and learn it by themselves…
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/j1.doc
Online Reference(s) http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/site/mslo/menuitem.3a0656639de62ad593598e10d373a0a0/?vgnextoid=c90d8b6244277110VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default

NXT Musical Instrument

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity NXT Musical Instrument
Author Jay Clark
Keywords Mary Had A Little Lamb, simple song, NXT, switches, sensors, task, instrument, wiring, math blocks, programming, loops, MINDSTORMS, Music Engineering, numerical frequency, audible, pitch, 2 Hours Total
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and other simple songs on their NXT using switches and touch sensors. When students complete that task, they will make an instrument using other sensors, requiring wiring and math blocks in their programs.
Lesson Objectives: Learn about loops, switches, and math blocks
Introduce Musical Instrument Engineering
Understand the relationship between numerical frequency and audible pitch
Materials Needed: NXT Kit
Computer with MINDSTORMS NXT software
Necessary Background Mary had a little lamb is a simple song consisting of just three notes. The notes and corresponding lyrics are below:

E D C D E E E

ma-ry had a lit-tle lamb

D D D E E E

lit-tle lamb, lit-tle lamb

E D C D E E E

mar-y had a lit-tle lamb

E D D E D C

whose fleece was white as snow

All musical notes have a corresponding frequency. Concert A (or middle A) is 440 Hz. In order to play mary had a little lamb using a light or distance sensor, you must know the frequencies of the three notes you’re using:

C – 262

D – 294

E – 330

Vocabulary:

frequency – the rate at which a vibration occurs. Determines the pitch of a note.

Procedure Introduction Introduce switches to the students. A switch is a program structure that makes decisions based on external criteria, such as a sensor value. Introduce the lesson. Show the students the notes of Mary had a little lamb. Ask them how many touch sensors they would need to play it. Guide them to realize that they could use 2, and there are 4 opportunities for notes to play with two touch sensors: Left pressed, right pressed, both pressed, none pressed. Guide them through brainstorming how the program should look. Usually it’s hard for them to see that the second switch is required. ActivityHave the students program their robots to be able to play mary had a little lamb using switch blocks and sound blocks. When they finish, have them use another sensor and wiring and math blocks in their program to create another musical instrument. Or allow them to use switches with another sensor to set up ranges for each note.
Extensions: Play a different song!
Use touch sensors in conjunction with another sensor to set the octave.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/g.png

Spin Art

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Spin Art
Author Kara Miranda
Keywords open-ended, design, challenge, design, build, spin, create, art, markers, crayons, paint, art supplies, not classroom tested, NXT, toys, prototype, Engineering Design Process, Gears, gear ratios, 4-6, 7-9, 2 Hours Total
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description An open-ended design challenge in which students will design and build an object that will spin in some manner to create art with markers, crayons, paint, or other art supplies. *This activity is not classroom tested.*
Lesson Objectives: To apply building techniques and knowledge about gears to an activity challenge.
Materials Needed: RCX or NXT LEGO kits
Example photos of toys that create spin art
Assortment of extra LEGO pieces, especially gears and beams
Engineer’s Planning Sheet
Markers, crayons, paint, or other art supplies
Tape (to tape markers, crayons etc. to LEGO pieces)
Large sheets of paper to draw on
Preparation and Set Up: Collect necessary materials
Tape down large sheets of paper to floor if necessary
Photocopy worksheets
Arrange students into groups of 3
Decide how you will distribute extra pieces and drawing utensils
Write design requirements on the board
Necessary Background Review gears and gear ratios

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Engineering Design Process
Gears
Gear ratio

Procedure
  • Tell students that in this challenge they will be making spin art. Explain to them what spin art is and the different ways they can go about making it. Spin art is created by any medium spinning in some manner, whether it is the marker drawing in circles, paint being spun, or paper being rotated, etc. Students may attach these things to a car that they program, or a stationary object, or whatever they choose; this activity is very open ended for students design-wise.
  • Show students different pictures and/or videos of spin art toys, explaining what they do and how they work. Also, it may be a good idea to review how gears work. Explain the engineering design process, emphasizing the prototype and the redesign.
  • Tell them the requirements for their spin art makers. Examples of requirements are:
  •       Must have at least three gears
  •       Can be manual or electric
  •       Must use two different mediums (i.e. markers and paint, paint and crayons, etc)
  • Allow the class to brainstorm different ideas for their spin art design. Have them plan out and draw their design on the engineering planning sheet.
  • Distribute materials and have students start building. You may have to assist students with taping markers to their project.
  • After the students finish, review the activity with the class. Have them share their ideas, ask groups to explain what the hardest part of the challenge was, etc.
Extensions: Have students add more gears
Have students add more drawing utensils (more markers, etc)
Have students put their drawing utensils on different axes (i.e. one paintbrush horizontal and one marker vertical)
Have students add a sensor that causes something on their spin art maker to perform some act (i.e. when the light sensor senses white, the blue marker starts spinning)
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/a.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/b.jpg
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/c1.pdf

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