Mariana & Alyssa Semester Outline

Outline:

(journal for observations? or posters for drawing?)

-giving time to play with materials before activity starts (exploration)

-defend observations to each other

-can we make the time shorter?

-breaks in the middle to talk about things as a class

- ask who will leave so they can be paired together, or just partnering generally (email)

-check in with teacher during exploration time?

-carrot-and-stick thing for balloons etc

 

September 23- Introduction and spaghetti towers activity

September 30- failure analysis (of structures that we have pre-built), straw structures- towers, bridges, strength, etc., building animals out of straws

October 7- lego vehicles, ramp (no motors), play around with ramp size/slope and wheel size  etc, maybe with balloons/rubber bands for propulsion

October 21- introduce motors an gears, maybe an activity with vehicles and speed, maybe something new

October 28- dinosaur tail activity (using simple machines and pulleys for something other than wheels)

November 4- design and construction of an imaginary animal based on qualities picked from a hat

November 11- obstacle course with robot animals, trial run 1

November 18- redesign of robot animals

November 25- redesign of robot animals

December 2- obstacle course run 2

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

Catapult

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Catapult
Author Kara Miranda
Keywords design, challenge, build catapult, launch, LEGO, not classroom tested, k-3, 4-6, 7-9, prototype, Engineering Design Process, lever, fulcrum, force, load
Subject Simple Machines, LEGO Building
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description An design challenge in which students will design and build a catapult and see which design will launch an object the furthest. This activity can use either Lego or non-Lego pieces. *This activity is not classroom tested.*
Lesson Objectives: To apply building techniques and knowledge about levers to an activity challenge.
Materials Needed: Simple Machine or RCX kits
Example photos of catapults
Assortment of extra LEGO pieces, especially beams
Engineer’s Planning Sheet
Plastic spoons
Rubber bands
Tongue depressors
Glue
Tape
Ruler (yardstick or tape measure)
Preparation and Set Up: Collect necessary materials

Photocopy worksheets
Arrange students into groups of 2

Decide how you will distribute extra pieces and other materials

Write design requirements on the board

Find a section of the floor at least 15 feet long and put tape down on one side. Students will place their finished catapults on this line and launch the object from there, and the teacher can measure how far it has gone.

Necessary Background Review three different classes of levers.

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Engineering Design Process

Catapult
Lever (first, second, and third class)
Fulcrum
Force
Load

Procedure
    • Tell students that in this challenge they will be making a catapult. Explain to them what a catapult is, making sure to go into levers and its three different classes. A catapult can mean any machine that hurls a projectile. Students can use either Legos or non-Lego materials to create their catapult.
    • Show students different pictures and/or videos of catapults, explaining what they do and how they work. Explain the engineering design process.
    • Tell them the requirements for their catapults. Examples of requirements are:
    •       Must be six inches tall
    •       Must launch a ball at least 6 feet
    • Allow the class to brainstorm different ideas for their catapult design. Have them plan out and draw their design on the engineering planning sheet.
  • Distribute materials and have students start building.
    • After students finish building their catapults, have them place their catapult on the line and launch an object (preferably something that will not roll, perhaps a Lego piece). Measure how far the catapult launched the object.
  • 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 redesign their catapult to make it launch objects even further.
Have a class-wide competition to see whose catapult launches the furthest.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/111_image_1.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/111_image_2.jpg
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Building_Design_Sheet3.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

Hand Mixer

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Hand Mixer
Author Kara Miranda
Keywords hand mixer, gears, gear ratios, not classroom tested, prototype, Engineering Design Process, 4-6, 7-9, 2 Hours Total
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will design and build a hand mixer, learning how to use different gears in a variety of ways. *NOTE: not classroom tested.
Lesson Objectives: To apply building techniques and knowledge about gears to an activity challenge.
Materials Needed: RCX or NXT LEGO kits
Photos of different hand mixer designs
Assortment of extra LEGO pieces, especially gears and beams
Building Design Sheet
Preparation and Set Up: Collect necessary materials
Photocopy worksheets
Arrange students into groups of 3
Decide how you will distribute extra pieces
Write design requirements on the board
Necessary Background Review Gears and Gear Ratios

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Engineering Design Process
Gears
Gear Ratios

Procedure
  • Tell students that in this challenge they will be building a hand mixer.
  • Show students different pictures and/or videos of hand mixers, 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 prototype and redesign.
  • Tell them the requirements for their hand mixers. For example:
  •      Must have at least three gears
  •      Can be a manual or electric hand mixer
  • Allow the class to brainstorm different ideas for their mixer design. Have them plan out and draw their design on the Building Design Sheet.
  • Distribute materials and have students start building.
  • 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 make the bottom of their hand mixer spin faster or slower by adjusting the gear ratio.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/109_image_1.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/109_image_2.jpg
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Building-Design-Sheet.pdf

Engineering and Conservation

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Engineering and Conservation
Author STOMP
Keywords house, LEGOs, materials, found materials, resources, resourcefulness, conservation, Engineering Design Process, renewable, non-renewable
Subject Non-LEGO, LEGO Building
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will be asked to build a house (out of LEGOs or non-LEGO materials). Students
will not be aware that after the first house they will be asked to build a second house
using the materials that they have left over. This will continue until it is impossible for
the student to build more houses. This should lead to a discussion on resource use and
engineering while being aware of conservation.
Lesson Objectives: - To reinforce the Engineering Design Process.
- To teach students about the relationship between engineering and conservation.
- To teach students how they can participate in conservation.
Materials Needed: Planning Worksheet
Review of Activity Worksheet
PowerPoint
One kit per pair of students
Preparation and Set Up: Make enough copies of the worksheet for each
student (attached)
Setup the PowerPoint presentation (attached)
Gather materials and make kits for students to use
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Engineering Design Process
Resource
Renewable vs. Non-Renewable
Conservation
Procedure
  1. Arrange students into pairs
  2. Discuss the Engineering Design Process. Tell the students that their task is to design and build a house. DO NOT TELL STUDENTS THEY WILL HAVE TO BUILD MORE THAN ONE HOUSE
  3. Pass out the planning worksheets and have students plan their design.
  4. When students have completed their designs pass out the kits and allow the students to build their design for 10 – 15 minutes.
  5. When students have completed their first house have students place their houses on a desk/table and sit back down.
  6. Next, tell the students that their next task is to build a house out of the left-over materials and that they house must meet the same requirements of the first house.
  7. Some students may not have enough materials left to build a second house, if this is the case, allow groups o combine resources so that they can build a second house.
  8. If all the students have enough materials to build a second house that meets the requirements, have the students build a third house. By the time the students get to the third house they should pretty much have run out of materials.
  9. When the students have finished pass out the second worksheet and then discuss as a class the following issues, you can use the attached powerpoint in this discussion:
  • What would you have done differently if you knew that you had to build more than one house?
  • How might this relate to the real world?
  • What if you were required to build a neighborhood and you only had a certain amount of timber/bricks?
  • What are some resources that we use a lot of?
  • Could we run out of these resources (are the renewable, non-renewable)?
  • What are some ways that we can conserve these resources?
  • What can you do personally to reduce your impact on the environment?
Extensions: If there is enough time at the end of this lesson have the students build three houses that
meet the requirements with all the materials to show that if you use fewer resources for
each house then you will have enough to build more houses.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/conservation_worksheet.doc
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Conservation.pdf

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

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

Light Symphony

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Light Symphony
Author STOMP
Keywords light sensor, NXT, tone, ambient light, loops, math blocks, sound, inputs, outputs, Engineering Design Process
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description In this activity, students will wire a light sensor to their NXT bricks. Light sensor data
will be collected and used in a program that plays a tone based on the ambient light
in the room.
Lesson Objectives: - To learn to program using the light sensor, loops, math blocks, and sound.
Materials Needed: - NXT brick.
- Light sensor.
- Computers running MINDSTORMS NXT software.
Preparation and Set Up: Set up computers with MINDSTORMS NXT Software.
Arrange students into groups of two.
Distribute necessary materials.
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
inputs
sensors
outputs
engineering design process
Procedure
  1. Have students wire a light sensor to their NXT brick. They may or may not want to attach the light sensor to the brick.
  2. Have students program their NXT bricks
    1. The program should collect light sensor data
    2. The program should take this data and multiply it by a number (It may be good to start with about 10, but students can use trial and error until they find a multiple that creates the music box that they want)
    3. This new number should determine the tone of the note that the NXT brick plays.
    4. Students should add a wait for time block so that their note will play for that amount of before the program loops and the brick plays a new note.
  3. To test this program either have students turn their light sensors towards and away from a light source to produce different tones, or change the light levels in the room.
  4. Students may have to modify their program and change the multiple in their math block, or change the amount of time between notes. Allow students to test and retest multiple times.
Extensions: Get students to match the pitch of another NXT brick.
Modifications: - This same activity could be done using the proximity sensor attached to a car.
- Students could program their NXT brick to play a tone depending on how close their car was to an object. This could be related to a safety device that would warn you if your car was going to bump into a wall.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/62_image_1.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/62_image_2.png
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/light_symphony.doc

Rube Goldberg Machine

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Rube Goldberg Machine
Author STOMP
Keywords Goldberg Machine, engineering design, planning, Simple Machines, Engineering Design Process
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 4 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will use any type of LEGO or non-LEGO kit to build a Rube Goldberg Machine. This activity works well as a final project.
Lesson Objectives: - To learn about engineering design.
- To learn how to work together as a class to put together a final project.
- To use previous knowledge to accomplish a new task.
Materials Needed: - Any type of LEGO or non-LEGO kit.
- Easel with plenty of paper for planning.
- Any materials that the class specifies they will need for their machine.
Preparation and Set Up: - Arrange students into groups (or let students arrange themselves into groups).
- Set up an easel for painting.
Necessary Background Rube Goldberg was an American inventor and cartoonist who was famous for drawing pictures of complex machines that performed simple tasks in very round-about ways.

The Rube Goldberg machines that students will be creating are a series of simple machines that work together to perform a simple task. This task can be to open a door, play a sound, turn on a light etc.

Vocabulary:
Rube Goldberg
Simple Machine

Procedure
  1. Introduce to the class what a Rube Goldberg machine is. Tell them that it is a series of smaller machines that work together to accomplish a simple task.
  2. Tell students that they will be building their own Rube Goldberg machine using LEGOs or non-LEGOs (whatever the teacher chooses or has available).
  3. Have students brainstorm an idea for what they want their machine to accomplish.
    1. If students need help give them some examples – turning on/off a light. Having the last machine play a song. Starting a car, turning on a computer, etc.
    2. Have student vote to decide on the task that their machine will do.
  4. Next, tell students that each group will need to create a machine that does one actions out of the series of actions that all the machines will do. Each group will therefore be responsible for one part.
  5. Have the students brainstorm the series of parts and what each part can do. Make sure students think about how to connect each part to the part before and after it.
  6. Have students assign one part to each group.
  7. Let each group brainstorm their part.
  8. When students have filled out their “planning sheets”(attached), allow them to begin building.
  9. When all the groups have completed their parts, have the class put the pieces together.
  10. When all the pieces are together allow the class to test and redesign any parts that do not work well.
  11. When the students have completed their machine take pictures and allow the students to present their machine to other students, teachers, administrators and parents. If there is time, allow students to build an advertisement or poster for their machine.
Extensions or Modifications: - Make a poster advertising either one part or the whole Rube Goldberg machine.
- Add additional parts to the machine.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Rube-Goldberg-Planning.doc
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/RubeGoldberg.doc
Online Reference(s) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg–MoreinformationonRubeGoldberg

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