Three Little Pigs House Building

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Three Little Pigs House Building
Author Emily Lai and Emily Naito
Keywords three little pigs, build, house
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description After reviewing the story of the 3 little pigs, students get into groups and build three houses out of different materials. Then, the houses are tested with a fan to see if the “big bad wolf” can knock their houses down.
Lesson Objectives: - Using the engineering design process
- Learn to build with different materials and adjust designs based on constraints of materials
Materials Needed: House 1: Paper
House 2: Straws (cut in half), popsicle sticks
House 3: Lego Bricks

Tape
Scissors
Glue

Fan (paper fan, folder, etc.)

Preparation and Set Up: Arrange students in pairs

Cut straws in half

Necessary Background Know the three little pigs story.
Procedure 1. Tell story of the three little pigs. 2. Assign students to pairs, and distribute pairs evenly into three different stations (one station for each house) 3. Plan/Discuss possible house designs with partner 4. Construct house out of given materials 5. Rotate through stations until every group has build three houses. 6. Test designs by using a fan to see if the houses blow down.
Modifications: Limit the amount of tape/glue students can use for their houses.
Instead of a paper fan, use a hair dryer or a mechanical fan.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Robotics in Motion – Naito and Lai

Flashlight

ACTIVITY HEADER

Name of Activity Building a Flashlight
Author STOMP
Keywords circuit, electricity, flashlight, build, switch
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students are asked to create a flashlight using previous knowledge about electricity and circuits.
Lesson Objectives: -Introduce students to making circuits with real wires rather than Playdough, as in squishy circuits.
-Explain the importance of a switch (ie being able to open and close a circuit to turn a light or other object on or off)
Materials Needed: -D or 9V batteries
-Electrical wire
-Electrical tape
-Lights
-Toilet paper rolls or other objects that can be used as the flashlight body
-Other items to make the flashlight more user-friendly?
Preparation and Set Up: -Collect materials
-Ensure each group will have two electrical wires, pre-cut and pre-stripped
Necessary Background Students should have been exposed to electricity and circuits previously. They should have explored the importance of circuits and particularly switches in circuits.
Procedure
  1. Divide students into pairs or groups of 3-4.
  2. Distribute materials.
  3. Allow students to try to make their circuit work with little guidance at first.
  4. Encourage students to incorporate a switch into their design and to “package” the circuit such that it can be used as a flashlight.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Electricity & Magnetism

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

Tug-O-War

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Tug-O-War
Author Kara Miranda
Keywords gear, gear ratios, build, machine, tug-o-war, competition, prototype, Engineering Design Process, torque
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 3 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will use their knowledge about gears and gear ratios to build a machine that will play tug-o-war against another classmate’s.
Lesson Objectives: To apply building techniques and knowledge about gears to an activity challenge.
Materials Needed:
RCX or NXT LEGO kits

Assortment of extra LEGO pieces, especially gears and beams
Engineer’s Planning Sheet
String
Scissors
Tape

Preparation and Set Up:
Collect necessary materials
Photocopy worksheets
Arrange students into groups of 2
Decide how you will distribute extra pieces
Write design requirements on the board
Necessary Background Review gears, gear ratios, and torque.

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Engineering Design Process

Gears
Gear ratio
Torque

Procedure
    • Tell students that in this challenge they will be playing tug-o-war by building a machine that can provide enough torque to pull on another machine doing the same thing. String will be tied between the two, and a machine will have to pull the other over a line of tape in order to win.
    • Make sure to review how gears work, gear ratios, and using gears for torque vs. speed. Also explain the engineering design process.
    • Tell students the requirements for their tug-o-war contenders. Examples of requirements are:
    •       Must use gears
    •       Must have a sensor
    • Allow the class to brainstorm different ideas for their machines. 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 tying string to their machine.
    • After the students finish building, pair up machines and tie them to either end of a string, making sure the middle of the string is right above the tape on the ground, and that both machines are equidistant from the tape.
    • Have the students start their machines. Whoever’s machine gets pulled over the line first, loses.
  • 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
Make a classwide tug-o-war competition. Whose is the “strongest”?
Allow those who lose to redesign and compete against each other again
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/a.pdf

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

Animal Adaptations

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Animal Adaptations
Author Emily Ryan
Keywords animal adaptations, environments, design, build, unique, animal, animals, found materials, adapt, modeling
Subject Non-LEGO, LEGO Building
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description This activity explores animal’s adaptations to their environments. Students will look at
animal adaptations and then design and build their own unique animal that could live
in their backyard.
Lesson Objectives: To teach students about animals and why they have certain adaptations for
particular environments.
To teach students to design and build a model based on particular constraints.
Materials Needed: pipe cleaners
feathers
cloth
glue
string
tape
popsicle sticks
any available building materials
Preparation and Set Up: Gather an assortment of building materials (can use LEGOs or not).
Collect some research on animals and their adaptations.
Pictures of an environment that the animals need to adapt to.
If desired, break students into groups of 2 – 4.
Distribute materials to students.
Necessary Background Animals adapt to their environment in many different ways. The most evident adaptation
is color and texture. Camouflage is used by many animals to protect themselves from
predators. Some examples include tree frogs, polar bears, and iguanas. Animals may also
be colored to make them appear to be something they are not. Moths and butterflies
often have coloration that makes their wings look like eyes. Animals also adapt to their
environment. Giraffes developed long necks to allow them to reach food at the tops
of trees. Arctic foxes have snow white coats during the winter which they shed to
reveal a light brown coat for the summer months

Vocabulary:
Adaptation
Design
Modeling

Procedure
  1. Introduce animal adaptations to students, giving examples of familiar and unfamiliar animals that have different adaptations that help them live in a particular environment.
    1. The attached document labeled AnimalAdaptPres.pdf can be used to present info on animal adaptations to students
  2. Tell students that their backyards have a certain environment.
    1. Have students brainstorm some aspects of their backyard environments including:
      1. Space.
      2. Available foods.
      3. Places to make a home.
      4. Year round temperature.
      5. Dangers (pets/cars/people)
    2. If time, let students draw a picture of their backyard.
  3. Distribute building materials and tell students to build a model of an animal that might live in their backyard. Tell the students to build the animal with adaptations for the environment in their backyard.
  4. At the end of class, have students or student groups present their animal to the class.
    1. Students should mention the adaptations that the animal has.
    2. Students should explain how their animal moves, behaves, what it eats, where it lives, etc.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/AnimalAdaptPres.pdf

Build a Chair for Mr. Bear

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

Name of Activity Build a Chair for Mr. Bear
Author STOMP
Keywords Bear, Mr. Bear, build, chair, problem, solution, design
Subject and Grade Level Simple Machines, K, 1, 2, 3
Time 2 Hours Total
Lesson Objectives: - Ask students to design a sturdy chair that keeps a stuffed bear seated upright
- To expose students to the full engineering design process and allow them to practice their building techniques
Materials Needed: - LEGO Simple Machine kits or other LEGO building pieces
- Engineer’s Planning Worksheet
- Engineer’s Final Report Worksheet
- One stuffed bear per group
For the extensions:
- Extra LEGO building Pieces
- Mini Post-It Note Pads
- Mini Drinking Cups
Preparation and Set Up: Optional:
Research different chair designs and print out pictures to facilitate discussion on
how different types of chairs are designed and why chairs are designed differently for
different purposes. For example, office chairs are designed differently then recliners because
they have different purposes.Teacher Background:
Sturdiness is an important consideration when engineering any design. Furniture
(such as a chair), bridges, buildings, cars, etc. have to be sturdy for safety and other
reasons. Engineers always test their prototypes for sturdiness before any real construction
can begin. This highlights important steps of the Engineering Design Process; Test and
Redesign after a failed test.
Procedure
  1. Review previous activities and emphasize the important lessons learned from those activites especially sturdy building and different pieces in LEGO Simple Machine kits.
    1. note: this lesson follows nicely after Building Sturdy Towers activity and/or the Sturdy Shapes activity.
  2. Introduce the engineering challenge for this activity using the Engineering Design Process
    1. Identify the Problem: Mr. Bear needs somewhere to sit that is sturdy and will keep him sitting upright.
    2. Research: As a class, think about some different chairs and how a LEGO chair might be similar. (provide optional chair research).
    3. Brainstorm: Have student partners think about how to build a chair and how they will work together.
    4. Choose and Plan: Have students fill out the Engineer’s Planning Sheet. Have each partner circle the par that they will build.
    5. Create: Have students design and build. Review piece that may be helpful such as the beams, pegs, bushings and axles.
    6. Test: Explain to the students that their design needs to pass three tests:
      1. Drop Test: The design must survive a drop from the ankle.
      2. Fit Test: The bear must fit in the chair.
      3. Sit-up Test: The bear must sit upright.
    7. Redesign: Have students redesign after failed tests until their design is sturdy and usable. Help students think of ways to make their chair sturdy (overlapping beams, strong shapes, etc.)
    8. Share: Have each student fill out an Engineer’s Final Report Worksheet. Come together as a class, let each student briefly share their chair and discuss:
      1. Difficulties encountered by students and how they fixed them.
      2. One complement and one question for each chair.
Extensions or Modifications: - Build a foot rest for Mr. Bear
- Build a cup holder for Mr. Bear
- Build an easel for Mr. Bear
- It might be helpful to have a chart to keep track of which students have passed which tests
Sample Image 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/8_image_1.jpg
Sample Image 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/8_image_2.jpg
Sample Image 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/EngineeringDesignProcess-1.pdf
Sample Image 4 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Final_report.pdf
Sample Image 5 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/planning_sheet.pdf

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