Wedo Cars

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Wedo Cars
Author Emily Lai, Emily Naito
Keywords Wedo, Car, LEGO, Robotics
Subject LEGO Building
Grade Level K, 1, 2
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Part 1: Students create their own cars using the pieces in the Wedo kit.
Part 2: Students follow a set of pictoral instructions to construct a car using the Wedo kit pieces.
Lesson Objectives: - Introduce students to building vehicles using unfamiliar Wedo pieces
Materials Needed: Wedo kits
Pictoral instruction handouts (Part 2)
Preparation and Set Up: - Arrange students in pairs
- Print out enough copies of the handouts for each pair of students
Necessary Background Familiarity with the wheels/axles/other unique Wedo kit pieces
Procedure Part 1: – Show students which parts in the wedo kits will be used as wheels – Show students how to attach the wheels to axles and then to the body of the car – Distribute Wedo kits to pairs of students – Build the cars Part 2: – Have students disassemble cars from part 1 – Distribute handouts to pairs; explain what order the pictures go in – Build cars according to instructions
Online Reference(s) https://plus.google.com/photos/111228734087626356470/albums/5655917938991481009?banner=pwa
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Robotics in Motion

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

Peak Performance

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Peak Performance
Author Jay Clark
Keywords NXT, car, course, fastest, flat, inclined, gear, gear ratios, torque, speed, optimization, building, drive gear, driven gear, 1 Hour Total
Subject NXTs
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students must gear their NXT car to complete the course the fastest. The course consists of a flat section and an inclined section.
Lesson Objectives: To learn about gear ratios, gearing for torque vs gearing for speed, optimization, and building.
Materials Needed: NXT kit
Ramp
Computers running MINDSTORMS
Preparation and Set Up: Prepare one or more courses – With a flat beginning and an incline ending. The length of both sections will determine the optimum gear ratio. To allow for extensions, set up other courses with varying distances of the course components.
Necessary Background Using gear ratios students can gear their cars for more torque or more speed. If the drive gear is bigger than the driven gear, the car will be geared for speed. If the other way around, it will be geared for torque.

A car geared for torque will be slower, but will climb better. A car geared for speed will be quick, but might not be able to climb the ramp.

Vocabulary:

Gear Ratio – The ratio of the speed of rotation of the drive gear of a gear train to that of the driven gear.

Drive Gear- The gear attached to the source of torque. (Usually the motor).

Driven Gear – The gear that receives motion from the drive gear.

Optimization – Finding a balance between design concerns that yields the best solution.

Procedure Introduction – 10 Minutes Ask students if they’ve ever used gears before. More than likely, they’ve driven a 10 speed bike before, and never knew how the gears worked. Introduce students to gears and gear ratios. Using a pre-made gear train, show them the size of the drive gear and the driven gear, and ask if the driven gear will spin faster or slower than the drive. If they are having trouble seeing it, ask them for every one rotation of the drive gear, how many times does the driven gear rotate? Explain torque vs. speed. ie. tugboats – high torque, low speed. Handheld fans- high speed, low torque. Introduce the concept of optimization. Introduce the activity Activity – 40 minutes Clean up/ Wrap up – 10 minutes

  • What was easiest? What was hardest?
  •  What would you have done differently?
  •  What were some good ideas you saw that other groups came up with?
Extensions: Have the students try a different course with different dimensions and slopes.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/e.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/f.jpg

Wall Follower

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Wall Follower
Author Jay Clark
Keywords NXTs, car, wall, distance, loops, conditional loops, sensor, threshold
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will program their NXT cars to follow the outer edge of the classroom by driving along the wall at a set distance away.
Lesson Objectives: Programming using loops and conditional loops
Determining and Implementing sensor thresholds
Materials Needed: Prebuilt NXT car with a sound sensor
Clear wall space
Computers with NXT Mindstorms software
Preparation and Set Up: Find a section of the room that has the most dynamic wall. -Maybe the wall juts out for a closet and back in again afterwards-

Clear this space for cars to run next to.

For any inside turns (turning to the right if the wall is on your left), place a strip of black tape a foot or so away from the wall for the extensions.

Necessary Background A wall follower activity is very similar to the line follower programmatically. Start close to the wall. Turn away from the wall until the distance sensor reads that you are too far, then drive back towards the wall until the distance sensor reads that you are too close. Loop.

There is a challenge in trying to get the car to make an outside turn. This involves playing with the distance away from the wall you set your car to follow, and how dramatically you have the car steer.

Inside turns cannot be made using the loop. Some other sensor must tell the car that an inside turn is approaching, and then the car must react by turning. Students may use a touch sensor, a light sensor, a sound sensor, or even another distance sensor (if they have one)

Vocabulary: Threshold – The sensor value that when breached, will trigger a wait for block or a conditional loop. (Some students have had a better time understanding it as a “benchmark”)

Procedure Introduction – 10 minutes Introduce/ Review loops with the students and why they are useful in programs.

  • Loops allow us to repeat a set of commands that would otherwise be tedious to program over and over.

Introduce the activity, and ask the students if they have an idea of what the program should look like. Activity – 40 minutes Allow students to make the mistake of not including any turns in their program. They will understand their mistake when trying to make the first outside turn. Clean up/ Wrap up – 10 minutes

  • What was easiest? What was hardest?
  •  What would you have done differently?
  •  What were some good ideas you saw that other groups came up with?
Extensions: In order to make inside turns, students will have to use a conditional loop and another sensor to warn them of the upcoming turn.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/c1.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/d.png

NXT Trolly

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity NXT Trolly
Author Jay Clark
Keywords NXTs, cars, car, trolly, trollies, light sensor, loop, proximity sensor, sound sensor, threshold, switch
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students program their NXT cars to be trollies. The activity has three tasks.

(1) Using a light sensor, the trolly must follow the black tape loop that runs through the “town”

(2) Using a proximity sensor, the trolly must detect stations and stop for boarding.

(3) Using a sound sensor, the trolly must stop for townspeople whistling for the trolly.

Lesson Objectives: Programming with conditional loops and switches.
Determining and implementing multiple sensor thresholds.
Materials Needed: Pre-built NXT car and complete NXT kit.
Computers with Mindstorms NXT software.
Black tape for trolly track.
Boxes/Books/etc for trolly stations.
Extra LEGO people.
Preparation and Set Up: Set up a the trolly track with black tape in the classroom.
Place the trolly stations either all inside or all outside of the loop. (This is so the proximity sensor can be pointed to the right or left).
Necessary Background In order to follow a line, students will have to program their cars to repeatedly jump off and back on the line. In fact, they aren’t following the black line, but rather the line formed by the edge of the black tape and white floor. Students programs should consist of four blocks:
- Turn Right.
- Wait for Darker.
- Turn Left.
- Wait for Lighter.

Students will need to use a conditional loop or a switch to stop following the line at the station. A conditional loop will keep performing the line following functions until the distance threshold is breached. It will then move on to the next bit of code. A switch will make a decision about the program flow based on a sensor value.

Vocabulary:
Threshold – The sensor value that when breached, will trigger a wait for block or a conditional loop. (Some students have had a better time understanding it as a “benchmark”)

Switch – A program structure that makes a decision about which line of code to run next based on some criterion (time, sensor value, logic etc)

Procedure Introduction 10 minutes Review loops with the students and why they are useful in programs.

  • Loops allow us to repeat a set of commands that would otherwise be tedious to program over and over.

Sometimes loops should go on forever. Ask the students for examples they’ve done where loops go on forever. In more sophisticated programs, they should not. Ask if they can think of a situation in which you don’t want a program to go on forever. A conditional loop is a great way to end a loop exactly when you want it to end and move on to another task. Our brains use conditional loops all the time!

  •  When crossing the street, we look both ways. If its not safe, we do it again. We keep doing it until its safe, and then we cross the street.

Activity – 40 minutes If students haven’t done a line follower before, introduce the concepts using the line follower activity on the activities database. For the second task, students will have to use a conditional loop to look for the stations. After the loop, they should stop the car for 5 seconds. It’s important to note that you must drive past the station before you start looking for a new station. Therefore, there should be a loop with a counter on it, or another conditional loop to follow the line past the station before looking for the next one. For the third task, the students will have to use switches. First look at one of the sensors, say the sound sensor. If it detects a whistle, stop for five seconds, if not, look at the proximity sensor. If it detects a station, stop for five seconds. If not, continue following the line. Clean up/ Wrap up – 10 minutes

  • What was easiest? What was hardest?
  •  What would you have done differently?
  •  What were some good ideas you saw that other groups came up with?
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/a1.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/b5.png

Journey to the Earth’s Core

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Journey to the Earth’s Core
Author Kristen Burns and Sarah Halpert
Keywords sturdy car, rock, travel, ramp, layers, earth, crust, mantle, core, axles, bushings, car, density, plate tectonics, mass, friction
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description The kid’s needed to design a sturdy car that will hold a rock (small pebble). The car will then
travel down a ramp that is labeled with the layers of the earth. The upper half of the ramp
was the crust and the lower half of the ramp was the mantle. The floor directly after the ramp
was labeled the outer core and following the outer core was the inner core section. The kids
had to adjust the axles and bushings on the car to allow it to travel farther. Once the cars were
finished we tested them on the ramp to see how far into the “earth” they went.
Lesson Objectives: Review density and how to measure the mass of an object

Build a sturdy car and tweak it to allow it to travel the furthest down the ramp

Learn the layers of the earth

Materials Needed: Simple Machine Kit

Materials for a ramp

Paper to cover the ramp that depicts the layers of the earth

Small rocks

Scales

Preparation and Set Up: Get a large piece of paper and cut it down to fit the ramp while allowing some extra to account
for the outer and inner core section. Design the paper with fun facts about each layer
(temperature, thickness, etc.).
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Density

Plate Tectonics

Mass

Axle and Bushing

Friction

Procedure 1. Explain density and the theory of plate tectonics. Also, review how to measure the mass of an object. 2. Have them start building the cars. Make sure that the cars have a spot to hold the rock and that they are sturdy. Explain how to adjust the bushings to account for less friction. 3. Take the mass of the rock. 4. Test the cars on the ramp and see how far into the “earth” they were able to travel. 5. Fill out the worksheet.
Extensions: If a group finishes early ask them if they can make the car go further.

Rat Race

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Rat Race
Author STOMP
Keywords NXT, 1 Hour Total, vehicle, car, obstacle, obstacle course, contrasting colors, sound, sound sensor, constraints
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will program their NXT vehicles through an obstacle course. The instructor
should be creative in making an obstacle course. The obstacle course can include a
contrasting colored floor, narrow passages that force students to design a compact car,
sounds that require students to use sound sensor, and walls that cars need to avoid.
Lesson Objectives: To learn about programming in NXT.
Materials Needed: NXT kits.
Computers running LEGO MINDSTORMS.
Obstacle course, be creative in inventing a fun obstacle course for students to program and design their car to get through.
Preparation and Set Up: Set up an obstacle course, it can be very simple to complex depending of the level and experience of the students.
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Constraints.
Procedure
  1. Introduce the activity and show the students the pre-built obstacle course so that they know what their car has to do.
  2. Have students build their cars using touch and light sensors. Remind students that their car must somehow break through the rope barrier at the end of the course.
  3. When students have finished building, have them program their cars to travel through the course.
    1. The cars must start at the start line.
    2. When the cars hit the black line, their cars should turn right.
    3. When the cars hit the wall, the cars should turn left.
    4. At the finish line, the cars must break through the tape.
  4. When students have finished programming allow them to test their cars, reprogram/rebuild if necessary and retest their cars.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/ratrace.doc

Things That Go Bump

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Things That Go Bump
Author STOMP
Keywords design, construct, NXT, car, bump, wall, damage, touch sensors
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description In this activity, students will design and construct an NXT car that will stop when it
bumps into a wall to prevent damage to the car.
Lesson Objectives: - To learn to program with touch sensors.
- To create a safety device for an NXT car.
Materials Needed: - NXT Car.
- Assortment of LEGO pieces.
- Computer running NXT software.
Preparation and Set Up:
Set up computers running NXT software.

Arrange students in groups of two.
Distribute necessary material to students.

Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Prototype
Procedure
  1. Have students draw out the design for the bumper that they will attach to the front of their car
  2. Have students build an NXT car.
  3. Have students attach a bumper to their car attached to the touch sensor so that the car can respond when it drives into a wall.
  4. Wire the motors to the outputs and the sensors to the inputs of the NXT.
  5. Program the NXT vehicle:
    1. If using NXT MINDSTORMS software, program the car to stop when it hits a wall.
    2. Once students have program their car to stop when the touch sensor is pressed, have students program their car to back up and turn after the car hits a wall, before driving forward again. This program requires a loop.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/69_image_3.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/69_image_3.png
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Bumper_car.doc

Snail Car

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Snail Car
Author STOMP
Keywords NXT, car, travel, slow, snail race, last, finish line, winner, motion, gears
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description In this activity, students will construct an NXT car which is capable to traveling extremely slowly. The cars will compete in a snail race with the last car to cross the finish line crowned as the winner.
Lesson Objectives: To learn to build with cars for slow motion.
Materials Needed: - NXT Car
- Gears
- Computers running NXT software
Preparation and Set Up: Set up computers running NXT software.
Arrange students into groups of two.
Distribute materials to students.
Procedure
  1. Have students build an NXT car that utilizes a series of gears and axles.
  2. Have students program their cars to travel forward for 20 seconds.
  3. Set up a race course and let students race their cars against each other.
  4. If there is time, allow students to redesign their cars.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Engineering-and-Science-Skills.doc
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Snail-Car.pdf

Mountain Rescue

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Mountain Rescue
Author STOMP
Keywords car, climb, incline, gears, gear ratios, NXT
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will build or modify a car to climb a steep incline using gears.
Lesson Objectives: - To learn about gears and gear ratios.
- To learn about forces involved with inclines and gears.
Materials Needed: - One NXT car per group.
- An assortment of different sized gears.
- Steep incline.
Preparation and Set Up: Construct a steep incline that is wide enough for an NXT car to climb.

Arrange students into groups of two.

Photocopy enough worksheets for the class.
Distribute necessary materials.

Necessary Background Gears can be used to increase or decrease power in a machine; for example, a can opener. Gears are used in many modern inventions and everyday devices. Gears can also be used to change rotational motion.

Gears ratios are used to compare gears of different sizes. The size of a gear is measure by the number of teeth or cogs that are on the outside of the gear. The formula for a gear ratio is: (number of teeth on gear #1)/(number of teeth on gear #2). Gear ratios can be used to detrmine how many turns of the second gear their will be for the number of turns of the first gear.

The gear that is mechanically turned by a person or a motor is called the drive gear. The gears that turn as a result of the drive gear being turned are called the followers. gears turn in opposite direction of the gears directly next to them.

A car driving up an incline has more forces acting against it than a car driving on a flat surface. Gravity has a different affect on a car driving up a ramp and pulls the car down the slope. As a result, a car driving up a ramp requires more power. Friction is also an important factor for a car driving up a ramp. The more friction the better grip a car will have on the surface of the ramp and the less likely the car will be to slide back down the ramp.

Vocabulary:
gears
gear ratios
drive gear
follower gear
gravity
friction
slope

Procedure
  1. Discuss gears and gear ratios with students. Have students fill out worksheets on gears and gear ratios.
  2. Discuss the forces acting on a car driving up a ramp. Discuss the difference between a car that drives on flat ground and a car that drives up a ramp.
  3. Have student build an NXT car or provide a pre-built NXT car. These first cars should not have gears attached.
  4. Have student program their cars to drive for about 20 seconds (enough time to climb the ramp) at a power of about 75 (a power too great for the car to climb the ramp without falling off).
  5. Allow students to try to drive their car up the ramp.
  6. Come together as a class and discuss why the cars had difficulty climbing the ramps.
  7. Tell students that they are not allowed to reprogram their cars, but must use gears to give their cars enough power to climb the ramp.
  8. Have students add gears to their cars and test the design on the slope, let them try different gear ratios and combinations.
Extensions: Students can attach a proximity sensor to their car to prevent the car from falling off the edge of the ramp.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/63_image_2.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/63_image_3.jpg
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Gear_Ratio_Worksheet.pdf
Reference 4 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Gears_Worksheet.pdf
Reference 5 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/mountain_rescue.doc

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