Detective- Mechanical Engineering

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

Name of Activity Detective-Mechanical Engineering
Author Kirsten Jorgensen and Hannah Garflied
Keywords rube goldberg, mechanical, simple machines, gears, inclined planes, pulley, lever, wedgem screw
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total, 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Lesson 3 of Detective Engineer: Intro to Different Types of Engineering unit – mechanical engineering.
Lesson Objectives: -understand what mechanical engineers do and design-become familiar with the different types of simple machines

-create a rube goldberg device

Materials Needed: LEGO Simple Machines KitExtra Lego Pieces

a few NXT touch sensors

Preparation and Set Up: Arrange students in pairs with 1 simple machine kit per group
Procedure Continuation on the “Detective” Story line that we are following in this unit. Give the next part of the crime. We sent some of the shrapnel  they filtered from the last week and determined that the bomb that exploded in the museum of science was a bomb that was triggered by a button next to the bomb. There were no finger prints on the trigger. Discuss how this is possible? eventually get to Rube goldberb device because they wouldn’t be blown up if they were a distance away and triggered the bomb. What kind of engineer could build this? First we have an open discussion on mechanical engineers-what they do and why this field is different from other types of engineering–moving parts, robotics etc. What is a rube goldberg device? How do they work. Open discussion about what a simple machine is, why we use them, why they’re helpful, what the different kinds are and what their specific uses are (write on board for reference later). Project: Create a rube goldberg device with 2 different simple machines that can trigger a button (NXT touch sensor) from across the desk — has to be far enough away so they don’t blow up Give students 10-15 minutes to develop an idea and have a plan before they start. Hand out simple machines kits  after it is confirmed that they have a relatively good idea of what they are going to build and assist students as needed (how to work a gear box and how to make the certain simple machines because a lot of them have never seen how gears work) Ended up using a second week for this project so they could finish. Had pairs present their projects to the class. Had them talk about their idea and which simple machines they used.
Extensions: If they finish early, try to have them implement a 3rd simple machine. (only 1 group finished early)
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Detective Engineer: Intro to Different Types of Engineering

Simple Machine Crane

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Simple Machine Crane
Author Matt Mueller, Emily Naito, Mary McCormick, Karman Chu
Keywords Simple machines, pulleys, gears
Subject LEGO Building
Grade Level 5
Time 3 Hours Total
Brief Description Students design and build a crane system using simplemachines that will lift as much weight from the floor as possible. The simple machine system will be attached to a motor on the desk. Students may use string attached to motor, gears, pulleys to lift the weights.
Lesson Objectives: Designing and building simple machine systems, using pulleys and gears in combination, employing engineering design process to design, build, and test systems.
Materials Needed: LEGO bricks, gears, pulley wheels, string, motors, weights, cup for weights.
Preparation and Set Up: Strings attached to cups that can hold weights, worksheets for students to learn about gears and pulleys.
Necessary Background Simply machines background on gears, pulleys functions and uses.
Procedure 1. Clarify the problem: lifting as much weight as possible from the floor to the desk using simple machines - gears and pulleys – that are attached to a motor on the desk. 2. Talk about how it might work.  What do gears do? What do pulleys do? 3. Brainstorm designs in groups. 4. Get materials and start building. 5. After 1 class period, review gears and pulley functions and uses.  Work more on designs. 6. Return to building, testing and revising as needed. 7. Come together as a class to talk about different designs.  Test how much weight each design can hold, and make it collaborative by seeing how much the whole class holds together (summation of weights). 8.  Discuss as group how the designs worked. 9. Redesign – If time, let students incorporate what they lave learned to redesign.
Extensions: Class discussions:
How might these cranes be more effective with other simplemachines? How do cranes work in real life? Where do we seecranes?
Redesign could be to make it more challenging by lifting weight faster/slower.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/GEARS-AND-PULLEYS-WORKSHEET.docx

Introduction to Simple Machines

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Introduction to Simple Machines
Author STOMP
Keywords Simple Machines, Pulley, Wheel and Axle, Gears, Wedge, Inclined Plane, Lever, Screw
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Set up an example of each type of simple machine machine at stations around the classroom. Each station should have NXT kits, or Lego/ found materials, available for students to try mimic building each machine of their own design. It is important that for each simple machine there is an example of the machine being used in the real world (this can be done with pictures at each station, or video). This will help to get them to think about their own real world examples. End with a general discussion and “show and tell” of the simple machines they made during class. If there is time also discuss how each simple machine could be improved.
Lesson Objectives: Introduce students to the seven simple machines. Prepare students for a curriculum involving building/ using simple machines.
Materials Needed: -NXT kits (for preparing examples)
-Lego simple machine kits
-real world example pictures/ videos
-Legos in classroom for students to make their own
-assorted found materials
Preparation and Set Up: Construct (out of Legos or found materials) an example of each simple machine before going into the class. Find a way to display pictures or video of a real world example of each simple machine to display at each station.
Necessary Background None
Procedure
  1. Prepare an example of each simple machine before going into the classroom
    • Note: All of the simple machines could be built with either Legos or found materials. We found that Legos worked best for building the inclined plane, wheel and axle, pulley, gear, and lever examples. We used Tetrix to demonstrate the screw and a doorstop to demonstrate the wedge.
  2. Print a picture of a real world example for each simple machine.
  3. Before going to the classroom, make sure they have enough NXT kits, assorted Legos, or found materials for students to build their own simple machine examples.
    • Consider bringing in extra supplies and Lego pieces since NXT kits don’t work extremely well for building every type of simple machine.
  4. In the classroom, introduce each simple machine and set up the examples at seven stations around the classroom. Ask them to think about (or write down) what tasks each machine could be used for, how do they make these tasks easier, and how the examples that the STOMPers built could be better.
  5. Allow students to walk around between stations and attempt to build their own version of each simple machine.
  6. Leave the last 10 minutes for students to present the examples they built and discuss the points they considered during the class time.
    • More time might be required depending on how much cleanup there is.

Spin Art

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Spin Art
Author STOMP
Keywords spin art, motors, gears
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Legos are used to create a “spin art machine” to attach to a box.
Lesson Objectives: - Understand how to use gears and motors together.
Materials Needed: - A box with a flap at the top and a small square to squirt paint into
- two to three gears of different sizes per spin art machine
- Lego motor
- Lego beams
- Axles
Preparation and Set Up: - Prepare a box with a flap opening and a small square opening at the top of flap.
- Prepare one box per group of students
- split students into groups of 4-5 per group
- Assemble a kit with a few axles, lego beams, and a few gears of different sizes
Necessary Background Understand how to use motors.
Understand basics to gears
Procedure Have students construct a small machine using a few Legos and gears. Once the students build the machine, attach a motor to the axle of the gear system.
Modifications: When building gear system, advise students to make a simple gear system. More than two gears will make a gear train that will be hard to move with the motor.

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

Voting Machine

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Voting Machine
Author Daniel Meer (Elissa Milto)
Keywords gear ratios, gears, simple machines, voting machine, slowly oscillate, button, motor, arm, meshing
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Using what you know about gear ratios, take the motor from the simple machine kit and
build a voting machine using at least 2 gears. The arm should slowly oscillate to choose
between the two presidential candidates (or chicken and egg- what came first?) when you
press the button on the motor. The arm can be either vertical or horizontal as well as the icon
that it will point to.
Lesson Objectives: - gears-controlled motor movement

-practical lego use

-critical thinking (building objectives)

Materials Needed: - Simple Machine Kit- paper and pen
Preparation and Set Up: Show that the arm should point to a logo or icon as in a gas gauge in your car points to empty or full. The arm should slowly oscillate between the two when the motor is activated in either direction.
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Gear Ratio
“Meshing”
Procedure make students draw out plan for voting machine with which gears the arm and motor will attach to. let them build it. test it.

Relay Race

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Relay Race
Author STOMP
Keywords vehicles, steep ramp, relay, team, course, cars, gears, weight, weight distribution, friction, power, accuracy, wheel, axle, speed
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will build two types of vehicles, one that is good for going fast on a flat surface and one that is good for climbing a steep ramp. Students will work together to create a relay team of 2 cars that must complete a course with a flat area and a steep ramp.
Lesson Objectives: To learn about gearing and how it can help with climbing ramps.
To learn complex programming that includes Bluetooth for communication between NXTs.
Materials Needed: Poster board, cardboard, wood or foam core for a ramp sloped about approx. 30 degrees from the horizontal.
NXTs or RCXs
Gears
Assorted building materials.
Computer running ROBOLAB or MINDSTORMS
Preparation and Set Up: Setup the relay course.
Set up a flat track that is five feet long with a start and finish and set up the ramp.
Collect necessary materials.
Arrange students into groups of 4.
Distribute the necessary materials.
Necessary Background One of the important things about robots is their ability to communicate to each other. Robots are often limited in their capabilities because it is too difficult to construct multi-tasking robots. For this reason, many different specialized robots are constructed, and then these robots are programmed to communicate to each other. For example, a certain Mars rover may specialize in searching for rock, while another may specialize in drilling rock. These two rovers can work together by sending signals to each other, in the same way we communicate, yet simpler. The following activity incorporates specialized robots that can communicate to each other to complete different sections of a single task: a relay race with different terrain.

CONCEPTS:
Building

Mechanical advantage of gears
- Small gear on motor, larger gear on wheel and axle for more torque to drive up the ramp
- Large gear on motor, small gear on wheel and axle for more speed to drive across the floor

Weight distribution of vehicle
- More weight on the front of the ramp vehicle
- Less weight for the entire floor vehicle

Friction
- Wide wheels for more contact surface area on the ramp vehicle
- Narrow wheels for less contact surface area on the floor vehicle
- Spacing between wheels and sides of vehicle so that the wheels rotate without rubbing

Power
- Large diameter wheels in the front of the ramp vehicle
- Ramp vehicle should be short in length

Accuracy
- Long floor vehicles with four wheels to ensure that the vehicle travels as straight as possible towards the stationary ramp vehicle

Procedure
  1. Introduce the activity and tell students that two people in their group will build and program a car to travel as fast as possible on a flat surface, and the other two people will be building a programming a car to drive up a ramp.
  2. Allow students to build their cars. Remind students that gears might help them build a car that can climb a ramp.
  3. Have students program their vehicles.
    1. The first vehicle must travel 5 feet to the base of a ramp and then stop. The students should use time to stop their robot, or use a light sensor if the course is marked with tape.
    2. When the first vehicle stops, it must send a message to the second vehicle (a number). This will trigger the second vehicle to start climbing the ramp.
    3. The second vehicle should start climbing the ramp when it receives the message from the first vehicle.
    4. Communication between RCXs/NXTs may be tricky.
      1. Use the ‘send mail’ and ‘wait for mail’ icons on the floor and ramp vehicle, respectively.
      2. Each group should send a different number so as to avoid confusion between RCXs and NXTs.
      3. Zero the receiving mailbox at the beginning of the program.
      4. Press run on both robots before starting the relay.
  4. Allow students to test their cars and rebuild/reprogram accordingly.
  5. At the end of class gather the students together. Have each team run their cars and time how long the relay takes from start to finish.
  6. Talk about what designs and programs worked the best and how you could improve upon each teams work.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Team-up-for-a-Relay.doc

Tow Truck

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Tow Truck
Author STOMP
Keywords steep, ramp, tow, towing, weight, gears, gear up, gear down, building, design, friction, gravity, center of gravity
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Build a car that can climb a steep ramp while towing a weight (10 batteries) behind it.
Using gears to gear down is necessary for this challenge. This activity is more challenging
than a regular ramp climb and may require some complex building and design.
Lesson Objectives: - To learn to build and use gears.
- To learn about gravity, center of gravity, and friction.
Materials Needed: NXT kits
ramp
batteries for weight
string
computers running NXT Software
Preparation and Set Up: Build a ramp.

Set up computers running NXT software.

Arrange student in groups of two.
Distribute necessary materials.

Necessary Background It is more difficult for cars to climb steep slopes for different reasons. In this lesson you
can discuss with the class these different forces that affect the ability of the car to
climb the slope:

Friction – friction is the force acting between the surfaces of the car (tires) and
the ramp surface. This is the force that keeps the car from slipping.
Gravity – gravity pulls down directly towards the center of the earth. On a flat
surface gravity does not pull a car in any direction, but just keeps it in place. On
a slope, gravity pulls a car backwards towards the center of the earth down the ramp.
Center of gravity – Center of gravity is the exact spot on an object where there
is the same amount of weight on one side of the spot as there is on the opposite
side. A high center of gravity means a car is more unstable on a steep slope.
A low center of gravity close to a ramp will help the car stay on the ramp.To
overcome these forces there are several things that you can do to your car:
Low center of gravity – design the car to be low to the ground.
Gear down the car – By adding gears to the motors and then gearing to the
wheel you can increase the power of the motors, which will help the car climb
the ramp. There is more information about gears and gear worksheets in the
attached documents.

Vocabulary:
Gears
Gear Ratios
Gravity
Center of Gravity
Mass
Friction
Forces

Procedure
  1. Have students design and build a car that will climb a ramp.
    1. Students will need to think about friction and center of gravity to build their car. If students are unfamiliar with these concepts, you should review the concepts with them. A car that is lower to the ground will be less likely to slip. Wheels that have more traction and greater surface area on the ramp will also be less likely to slip.
    2. Students will need to use gears to gain more power. If students are unfamiliar with using gears, you should review gears and gearing down with the students.
  2. Have students program their cars to move forward for 20 seconds.
  3. Allow students to test their cars on the ramp without anything in tow.
  4. Students should redesign the car if it does not climb the ramp.
  5. Students should then test their cars while towing the weight up the ramp and redesign until the car can tow the weight.
  6. If students have trouble tell them to try various gears, wheels and designs.
Extensions: What is the steepest ramp that the car can climb?
What is the heaviest weight that the car can tow?
Calculate the gear ratio.
What is the quickest that the car can travel up the ramp?
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/68_image_1.png
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/68_image_2.png
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Engineering-and-Science-Skills1.doc
Reference 4 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Engineering_Design_Process3.doc
Reference 5 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Gear_Ratio_Worksheet1.pdf
Reference 6 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Gears_Worksheet1.pdf
Reference 7 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Tow_truck.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

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