LEGO House

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity LEGO House
Author Emily Taintor
Keywords LEGO, house, building, town, electricity, circuit, light, bulb, constraints, construction, squishy circuits
Subject Non-LEGO, LEGO Building
Grade Level 3, 4, 5
Time 3 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will build LEGO houses that are lit by LED bulbs to certain design constraints.
Lesson Objectives: - Introduce students to LEGO building under design constraints
- Familiarize students with the process of planning and implementing a circuit
Materials Needed: - LEGO Bricks
- LED Bulbs
- Wires (or playdough)
- House bases (for the design constraint)
- Batteries
- Alligator clips
Preparation and Set Up: - Give each group a base, bricks, an LED bulb, and wire (or playdough)
- Explain design constraints
Necessary Background Basic electricity information, LEGO familiarity
Procedure
  1. Distribute materials
  2. Explain design constraints
  3. Students should begin by constructing a LEGO House to whatever design constraints the instructors decide upon. Our class had size and height constraints (had to fit on the small base, had to be big enough for a LEGO man to live in) but they could be any sort of design constraint, service learning-related or otherwise. During the building process the students should be considering how they want to wire the house so that an LED bulb can light the inside of the house from a battery on the outside of the house.
  4. Once the house has been constructed, have the students plan out the circuit that they want to use to light the house. We had the students use just one LED bulb so the circuits were very basic.
  5. Students should wire the house so that the LED bulb lights the inside of the house from a battery on the outside. We used playdough instead of wires to create the circuit to build off of the squishy circuits activity, so they had a lot of flexibility on implementing the actual circuit.
  6. Students should assemble their houses in one big “town” and present their houses to the rest of the class. Students should be able to explain their circuit to the class, as well.
Extensions: - Make the house more realistic (make the light connect to the ceiling or look like a lamp)
- Give more specific design constraints
- Use more than one bulb per house – would create better diversity of solutions
- Have groups of students create ‘neighborhoods’ so that they have to combine their circuits to connect to one communal energy source

Paper Towers

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Paper Towers
Author STOMP
Keywords towers, constraints, materials, weight, Engineering Design Process, sturdy structures, strong shapes, architect, design, prototype, redesign
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will build towers out of a limited amount of materials that can hold up a set amount of weight (like a stack of books).
Lesson Objectives: To introduce students to the engineering design process.
To teach students about sturdy structures and strong shapes.
Materials Needed: For each student group:

Activity worksheet
18 inches of tape
5 paper clips
5 index cards
8 sheets of 8-1/2 x 11 paper
Some sort of weight to put on the tower (like a stack of books)

Preparation and Set Up: - Arrange students into groups of 2.
- Gather materials and photocopy worksheets.
- Make a poster or handouts of the engineering design process.
Necessary Background The engineering design process is an eight step process that engineers use to design

1. Identify the need or problem
2. Research the need or problem
3. Develop possible solution(s)
4. Select the best possible solution(s)
5. Construct a prototype
6. Test and evaluate the solution(s)
7. Communicate the solution(s)
8. Redesign

Vocabulary:
You can highlight any of the following vocabulary in this lesson:

Engineering design process
Engineer
Architect
Design
Prototype
Redesign
Sturdy

Procedure
  1. Begin the lesson by introducing the engineering design process. Explain how students will use the engineering design process in their lesson to construct a tower out of paper:
    1. Identify Problem: You need to build a tower that will support a weight (stack of books).
    2. Research: discuss as a class some ways that you might make your tower sturdy, like how to distribute the weight, what shapes might help you, etc.
    3. Develop Possible Solutions: The class will draw out some possible designs on a sheet of papers.
    4. Select the Best Possible solution(s): Student groups should discuss their ideas and select one design to actually build.
    5. Construct a Prototype: Students will build their towers
    6. Test and evaluate: Students will test their designs by placing the weight on their towers. Students can either tests their designs as they finish, or each group can test in front of the class when everyone has finished building. How much weight can the tower hold?
    7. Communicate the solution(s): Have students share their designs. Discuss as a class the following questions:
      1. What designs seemed to work the best?
      2. What were some ways that towers failed?
        1. did they tip over or crush?
      3. What were some shapes that worked best to hold the towers?
      4. What materials seemed to be most useful?
    8. Redesign: In this activity students will not actually redesign their structures, but you should discuss as a class how different groups might improve their designs.
Extensions: Have students redesign their towers. How does the second tower’s performance compare to the first? What were some design changes?
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/tower_worksheet.doc

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

Lunar Rover Mini Design Project

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Lunar Rover Mini Design Project
Author Chris Paetsch
Keywords Lunar Rover, moon, constraints, Engineering Design Process, technical drawings
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will design a Lunar Rover on paper that must account for a long list of constraints.
Lesson Objectives: To allow students to apply knowledge of the moon while learning the benefits of the design process. This project is intended to be an introduction to the engineering design process and associated concepts, such as technical drawings.
Materials Needed: Enough blank sheets of paper for each student to redesign multiple times.
Necessary Background How the conditions on the different bodies in the solar system varied. The concept of the engineering design process had been introduced briefly, mentioning that it was an iterative process used to solve design problems and the goal of the design project was to better understand why creating a design requires iteration. The qualities of an effective drawing were also mentioned, such as neatness, clear labels, and being specific. Although this particular activity utilizes space science as the background, it can easily be adapted to other appropriate topics (such as designing miniature rovers for the exploration of anatomy of the human body).

Vocabulary:
Design Process
Moon

Procedure
  1. Introduce the design problem (Identify the Problem).
    1. Tell students that they are to design a lunar rover capable of performing several tasks.
    2. The design requirements include:
      1. The ability to pick up rocks.
      2. The ability to store rocks.
      3. The ability to propel itself over rough terrain.
      4. The ability to navigate around the lunar surface
      5. The ability to generate power for operation.
      6. The ability to transport itself from lunar orbit to the surface.
      7. Must be small and light enough to be launched from Earth’s surface.
  2. Have students research the conditions on the moon (or provide them with research) so that they know what they are designing for.
  3. Give each student a blank sheet to brainstorm their first design.
    1. Students are to draw their design with enough detail so that it could be built from their specifications.
  4. Once students have completed their design, evaluate each design and be sure that it accounts for all the constraints. This teacher evaluation is the “testing” of the design.
  5. Students will build upon and improve their first design until they are satisfied and the design fits all the constraints.
Extensions: Add more constraints to the list of constraints.
Modifications: This activity works best with smaller groups of students (appx. 15-20).
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Lunar-RoverFINAL.doc

Snow! Snow! Snow!

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Snow! Snow! Snow!
Author STOMP
Keywords vehicle, snow, Simple Machines, prototype, Engineering Design Process, constraints
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will be asked to design a vehicle that will clear three different types of “snow” from a path with a motorized simple machines car.
Lesson Objectives: - To engage students in an open-ended engineering design challenge that utilizes their motorized vehicles and allows students to make a connection with the real world.
Materials Needed: - Tape to mark the ‘road’.
- Packing peanuts (light snow).
- Extra white LEGO bricks (medium snow).
- Wet paper towel or small stones (wet/heavy snow).
- LEGO Simple Machines kits.
- ‘Engineer’s Planning Worksheet’.
- ‘Engineer’s Final Report’ Worksheet’.
- Pictures of different snowplow designs.
For Extensions:
- Ruler.
- Blank paper for advertisement.
Preparation and Set Up: - Obtain three different types of snow.
- Set up three ‘roads’ with tape, one as a test site for each type of snow (light, medium, wet/heavy).
- Print out enough worksheets for the class.
- Print out photos of different snowplow designs/methods for removing snow (shovels, snowblowers, plows).
- Arrange students in pairs.
- Distribute LEGO Simple Machines kits.
Necessary Background the engineering design process is an eight step process that engineers use to design:

Step 1. Identify the need/problem

Step 2. Research the need/problem

Step 3. Develop possible solutions

Step 4. Select the best possible solution

Step 5. Construct a prototype

Step 6. Test and evaluate the solution(s)

Step 7. Communicate the solution(s)

Step 8. Redesign

Vocabulary:
All pieces in LEGO Simple Machines kits
Prototype
Engineering design process
Constraints

Procedure Author: STOMP Time: 1 – 2 one-hour class periods Description: Students will be asked to design a vehicle that will clear three different types of “snow” from a path with a motorized simple machines car. Grade Level:

  • K-3

Lesson Objectives: To engage students in an open-ended engineering design challenge that utilizes their motorized vehicles and allows students to make a connection with the real world. Materials Needed:

  • Tape to mark “road”
  • Packing Peanuts (light snow)
  • Extra white LEGO bricks (medium snow)
  • Wet Paper towel or small stones (wet/heavy snow)
  • LEGO Simple Machines kits
  • ‘Engineer’s Planning Worksheet’
  • ‘Engineer’s Final Report’ Worksheet
  • Pictures of different snowplow designs.

For Extensions

  • Ruler
  • Blank paper for advertisement.

Preparation and Setup:

  • Obtain three different types of snow.
  • Set up three “roads” with tape, one as a test site for each type of snow (light, medium, wet/heavy).
  • Print out enough worksheets for the class.
  • Print out photos of different snowplow designs/methods for removing snow (shovels, snowblowers, plows).
  • Arrange students in pairs
  • Distribute LEGO Simple Machines kits

Teacher Background: the engineering design process is an eight step process that engineers use to design: Step 1. Identify the need/problem Step 2. Research the need/problem Step 3. Develop possible solutions Step 4. Select the best possible solution Step 5. Construct a prototype Step 6. Test and evaluate the solution(s) Step 7. Communicate the solution(s) Step 8. Redesign Vocabulary:

  • All pieces in LEGO Simple Machines kits
  • Prototype
  • Engineering design process
  • Constraints

Procedure: Talk about this lesson using the Engineering Design Process

  1. Identify Problem: Pose this design challenge as the problem: The town’s people need a vehicle that can drive around and clear the roads of snow so that cars can drive on them.
  2. Research:  Think about vehicles that clear the road of snow and different types of plows (show photographs).
  3. Brainstorm: Talk about how you might build some of the ideas in research out of LEGO materials.
  4. Choose and Plan: Have students fill out the ‘Engineer’s Planning Sheet’ and have each partner circle what they will build.
  5. Create:Have students build their design and help students solve design challenges.
  6. Test: Explain the tests that the students must pass:
    1. Pick-Up Test: The design must stay together when it is picked up
    2. Snow Tests:
      1. Light Snow: The vehicle must be able to clear a path in the cotton balls
      2. Medium Snow: The vehicle must be able to clear a path in the LEGO bricks
      3. Heavy Snow: The vehicle must be able to clear a path in the wet paper towels.
  7. Redesign: Have students rebuild vehicles until they have passed all the tests and can clear every type of snow.
  8. Share: Have students fill out the ‘Final Report’ worksheet. Come together as a class.
    1. Compare different designs (straight plows, V-plows, width of plows, proximity to the ground, number of pieces).
    2. Talk about difficulties in building and the solutions students came up with.
Extensions or Modifications: - Few students may actually complete this lesson, so have those who do help other students.
- Students can create an advertisement for their snow plow, writing/drawing why it is a good design.
- Students can use this as a counting and categorizing exercise:
– How many beams did you use?
– How many plates?
– What are the measurements of your car?

Modifications:
- Record what students have passed what tests with a chart.
- If student’s plows are too low to the ground have the students raise the plows.

Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Snow1.pdf
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Snow2.pdf

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