New Test Activity

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity New Test Activity
Author Tufts STOMP
Keywords keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3, keyword 4, keyword 5, 1 Hour Total, NXTs, LEGO, k-3
Subject NXTs
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Brief description goes here. Describe what the activity consists of in 1-4 sentences.
Lesson Objectives: - To teach students about _____________________.
- To introduce ____________________ vocabulary words.
- To familiarize students with LEGO building.
- To introduce programming to students grades k-3.
Materials Needed: - Material 1.
- Material 2.
- Material 3.
- Material 4.
- Material 5.
- Material 6.
- Worksheets 1-4.
Preparation and Set Up: - Describe all set up here.
- Hand out worksheets.
- Split students into groups.
- etc etc etc.
Necessary Background Fill in necessary teacher background here. This can include vocabulary words, general information, or any prepared information about important subject matter here.
Procedure
  1. Step by step procedure goes here.
  2. Include the Engineering Design Process wherever applicable.
  3. continue all the way through the activity, start to finish.
Extensions: Please elaborate here if there is any way to make the activity more difficult for students who finish the activity early or are more experienced than other students in the subject matter.
Modifications: Please elaborate here if there are ways to change this activity to make it slightly different or better in any way after your experience with it.

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

Moving Through the Mantle

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Moving Through the Mantle
Author STOMP
Keywords igneous rocks, mantle, transport, NXT, earth
Subject NXT
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description To build an extension to the Magic School Bus that will clear a path through the igneous rocks to gravel through the mantle and transport passengers.
Lesson Objectives: - To design a structure that is capable of moving objects.
- To program the “School Buses” to travel for a given length of time.
Materials Needed: - Pre-Constructed LEGO NXT cars (from lesson 1)
- Various LEGO pieces
- Pre-assembled tunnel (of cardboard, book lining sides and a board for a top.
- Pieces of sponges to represent igneous rocks
- Miscellaneous objects (for extensions)
- Computers running MINDSTORMS
Preparation and Set Up: - Lay out sponge pieces in a path.
- Construct a tunnel with an opening that is wide enough for an NXT vehicle to fit through.
- Set up computers running MINDSTORMS.

- Arrange students in groups of 2 – 4.

- Distribute NXT cars and LEGO kits.

Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Igneous rock
Mantle
Procedure
  1. Tell students that they will be navigating their NXT vehicle through the igneous rock and the mantle, carrying passengers the whole way.
  2. Students must first design an extension that will push the sponge pieces (igneous rock) out of the way of their vehicle.
  3. Then, they will need to program their car to travel through the tunnel and stop so that they can drop off their passengers. This can be done using time or a light sensor.
  4. Let students test their designs on the igneous rocks and through the tunnel.
  5. Students will program their vehicles to stop exactly where passengers must be picked up or dropped off.
  6. At the end of class, come together and let each group show-off their design. Discuss the features of the igneous rock layer and the mantle.
Extensions or Modifications: - Program the NXT to play a song once it gets through the mantle.
- Try moving heavier objects in place of igneous rocks.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/a1.pdf
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/a2.pdf
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/a31.pdf

Retrieving the Core

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Retrieving the Core
Author STOMP
Keywords core, earth, magnetic, sample, NXT, invention, earth’s core, magnet
Subject NXT
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will use their NXT vehicles they built in lesson 1 to retrieve a sample of the magnetic core of the Earth.
Lesson Objectives: - To learn about the layers of the Earth.
- To build a retrieving device.
- To travel to the “Core”, retrieve a sample and travel back.
Materials Needed: - Engineering Design Sheet
- Pre-constructed NXT vehicles (from lesson 1)
- Computers running MINDSTORMS software
- Additional motors
- LEGO building pieces
- Pre-built model of the Earth’s core with magnets dispersed around
- The Magic School Bus: inside the Earth by Joanna Cole
- Lego Reflection Response Sheet
Preparation and Set Up: - Create and set up a model Earth (ideas and photos attached).
- Collect materials
- Make copies of activity worksheets
- Engineering Design Sheet
- Engineer’s Programming Sheet
- Programmer’s Icon Sheet
- Arrange students in groups of two
- Give each group their NXT vehicle, an extra motor, extra LEGO pieces (you can also give them a magnet and tape for their retrieval device)
Necessary Background Attached is a sheet with references that have information about the layers of the Earth.
Vocabulary:
Invention
Earth’s core
Magnetic
Magnet
Procedure
  1. Start by reviewing the inside of the Earth and it’s layers. Questions you might ask are:
    1. What are the layers inside of the Earth called? (crust, mantle, outer core, inner core)
    2. What is the crust made of? Who can name the 3 types of rock found their? (igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary)
    3. Who can tell me about the mantle? The core?
  2. Read The Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth to the students to facilitate discussion on the layers of the Earth and connect to previous activities.
  3. Discuss the core of the Earth, explaining the difference between the outer core and inner core. Review what the children know about magnets.
  4. Divide the class into groups of 2 students. Explain that they will use the “School Bus” they made in lesson 1 (the NXT vehicle) for this challenge.
  5. Tell the students that the design challenge is to build and program your “School Bus” to collect a magnetic sample from the core of the Earth.
  6. Write the challenge on the board:
    1. Using the model of the core, explain that the NXT car must travel to the core.
    2. Once in the inner core, the collecting invention must collect a sample from the core.
  7. Explain to students that they will be allowed to use another motor for this challenge.
  8. Brainstorm some ideas of what might work to retrieve the rock sample. Write ideas on the board for future reference.
  9. Distribute the “Engineering Design Sheet” (attached) to each student.
  10. Model how to fill out these worksheets. Let the students complete their designs before they can begin to build.
  11. Allow students to build their inventions.

Note: If this lesson is going to be taught in 2 class periods, this is a good time to stop.

  1. If possible, bring up MINDSTORMS on a computer and mirror it on a TV monitor so that all the students can see. If not, model it to a few students at a time around a computer.
  2. Have each student fill out an “Engineer’s Programming Sheet” (attached) to complete before they program their NXT. Students can cut an paste icons from the “Programmer’s Icon Sheet” on to the programming sheet.
  3. When students have finished planning, let them program on MINDSTORMS and download their program to their NXTs.
  4. Allow students to test their designs on the model Earth (examples of model Earths are attached).
  5. Bring the class together. Let each group demonstrate their design. When all the groups have had a chance to show their design, review today’s activity:
    1. What were some difficulties that students encountered while building? How did they overcome these difficulties?
    2. What were some difficulties that students encountered while programming? How did students fix their programs?
    3. Did any students have to redesign?
    4. Review the layers of the Earth.
Extensions or Modifications: After retrieving the sample of the core, turn the Magic School Bus around and go back
through the mantle and the crust to the surface of the Earth.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/a.png
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/b.png
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/c.pdf
Reference 4 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/d.pdf
Reference 5 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/e.pdf
Reference 6 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/f.pdf

Cracking the Crust

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Cracking the Crust
Author STOMP
Keywords school bus, crust, earth, rock, NXT
Subject NXT
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will use their “School Buses” that they built in lesson 1 to complete a tour through the crust of the Earth.
Lesson Objectives: - To identify the crust and recognize there are three distinct layers of crust: sedimentary rock, metamorphic rock, and igneous rock.
- To learn the order of the layers and specific features of each later of crust.
- To correctly program the “School Bus” to stop at each layer for a given period of time.
Materials Needed: - Pre-constructed “School Buses” (from lesson 1)
- LEGO NXT kits
- Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole
- Simulated Earth crust material:
– wooden base
– sandpaper (sedimentary rock)
– bubble wrap (metamorphic rock)
– gravel (igneous rock)
- Saran Wrap
- ‘How Will We Crack the Crust?’ Planning Worksheet
- ‘Cruising Through the Crust’ Programming Worksheet
Preparation and Set Up: Set up the layers of the crust:
– There should be a layer of saran wrap as the outer crust that the vehicle will need to break through. You can support this with popsicle sticks/pencils.
– The NXT will drive over the other material, so make a track with each layer farther away from the saran wrap starting with the sandpaper and ending with the gravel.
- Collect building materials.
- Photocopy one worksheet for each student.
- Arrange students in groups of 2 – 4.
- Distribute materials to groups.
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Sedimentary rock
Metamorphic rock
Igneous rock
Earth’s crust
Limestone Cave
Procedure
  1. Students must design a car that can take people on a tour of the Earth’s crust. They must transport passengers through the three layers of the crust: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. They must first break through the soil and move through the crust.
  2. The students will use their cars from lesson one. Students must add an extension that will cut through the soil (move/break the saran wrap).
  3. Students should plan their design on the ‘How Will We Crack the Crust?’ Worksheet.
  4. Check students plans.
  5. Have students build their attachments.
  6. When the attachments are built, have students begin programming their vehicle. Based on time intervals, they need to stop at different points to drop-off and pick-up passengers. The following are their programming tasks:
    1. Before entering Earth, the Magic School Bus will pick up a father and daughter. After cracking the crust, the bus will continue to the first layer of sedimentary rock (sandpaper). The two passengers will get off here to explore limestone caves.
    2. After dropping the passengers off the bus must continue to the metamorphic layer (bubble wrap) where it will pick up two new passengers.
    3. The bus must move onto the gravel (igneous rock). The bus must stop here to pick up two more passengers
    4. Finally, since the rock is getting very hot, the but must transport the passengers back to the surface of the crust and stop once it leaves the crust.
Extensions or Modifications: - Have students design and attachment to scoop up samples of each rock type.
- Have students create a brochure for the Magic School Bus Inside the Earth tour.
- Describe the vehicle and what you might observe on the tour.
- Send a postcard from a layer of the crust incluiding an illustration of what you saw and written explanation of your experience.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/b1.png
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/b2.png
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/btotal.pdf

Gait Analysis

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Gait Analysis
Author STOMP
Keywords gait, peers, report, motion, mechanics, protractor
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will analyze the gait of their peers and write about it in a report.
Lesson Objectives: - To study motion and mechanics.
- To show that humans are an example of an engineered machine consisting of different simple machines.
Materials Needed: - Goniometer or Protractor
- White Letter Paper
- Masking Tape
- Carbon Paper or Paint
- Meter Stick
- Stop Watch
- Worksheet
Preparation and Set Up: - Make photocopies of the worksheet for each student.
- Assign students groups of 4 – 5 students.
- Give each group 33 sheets of paper, a goniometer or protractor, carbon paper, a meter stick, a stopwatch and masking tape.
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Flexion
Extension
Gait
Pace
Procedure
  1. Assign a group member to each of the following tasks:
    1. Walking
    2. Timing/Measurement
    3. Range of Motion
    4. Observing
  2. The timer and observers should create a runway.
    1. 3 x 11 sheets of plain white paper.
    2. Lay carbon paper white side up on top for the walker to walk on.
  3. While the runway is being made, the walker should have his/her range of motion measured. The person measuring the range of motion does so by using the goniometer.
    1. If there is no goniometer have students roughly sketch the angle that the leg makes when it is bent and use a protractor to measure the angle.
    2. The measurer should measure the angle at extension (straight leg) and flexion (bent leg)
  4. Put a piece of tape down on the carbon paper to mark start and finish lines for timing purposes. When the tape is on the paper, write “START” and “FINISH” on it so that it will transfer through the carbon paper to the letter paper.
  5. When the timer signals, the walker should start.
  6. The observer should watch to see how all the joints of the walker’s leg line up and how the foot hits the floor as a result.
  7. The person measuring range of motion should watch to see how the joints that he/she measures move.
  8. When the walker reaches the finish line, stop time.
  9. The measurer should measure the walker’s stride (the distance between feet on one step).
  10. The timer should count the number of steps the walker took from start to finish to calculate the walker’s pace. (Pace = number of steps/time from start to finish)
  11. The observer should look to the carbon paper to see how the foot struck the paper and incorporate that into the analysis.
    1. Another way to do this is to paint the walker’s foot with finger paint or dip an old sock in paint, just be sure that the walker remains on the paper until their foot is clean.
  12. All members should share their results and write up a final analysis on the sheet attached.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/gait1.png
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/gait2.pdf
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/gait3.doc

Bicycle Unit: Materials Testing

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Bicycle Unit: Materials Testing
Author STOMP
Keywords material choices, strengths, weaknesses, materials, static load, dynamic load, friction, physical properties, chemical properties, mechanical properties, elasticity, yield strength, ultimate strength
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will learn about different materials that bikes are made out of. Students will learn about different factors, material strength, flexibility, cost, weight etc. that affect an engineers decision when choosing a material to use in constructing a prototype/real thing.

To apply this information, students will test and rate the strength of different types of materials. They will record the strengths on a chart and compare the different materials. Students will discuss the factors that affect an engineer’s choice of materials.

Lesson Objectives: - To explore the factors that affect material choices for a design.
- To compare strengths and weaknesses of different materials.
Materials Needed: - Hot glue sticks.
- Popsicle sticks.
- Plastic spoons.
- Wire.
- Metal Rods (e.g. thin nail).
- Activity Worksheet.
Preparation and Set Up: - Print out enough worksheets for the class (either one per group or per student)
- Optional: Set up large version of real bike materials sheet.pdf or make copies for each group to look at.
- Arrange students into groups.
- Distribute materials and worksheets.
Necessary Background Engineers need to keep a lot of things in mind when choosing what material they will use in their designs.

A bike will have two types of loads. The Static Load – the bike frame must support itself – and the Dynamic Load – the bike frame must support changing forces of a cyclist’s weight, forces of pedaling and breaking, road’s surface (bumps, holes)

Friction – or the resistance of the road’s surface. This factor affects the engineers decision on what a tire should be made out of and how it should be designed. Road bikes want to reduce friction for faster movement v. mountain bikes, which want wide tires for increase friction to reduce falls.

Materials that engineers choose for their designs must withstand all of these forces. There are three categories of material properities that enable bikes to function to suit different purposes

Physical: Density, color, electrical conductivity

Chemical: Reactivity, rust resistance, solubility, reaction to heat.

Mechanical: hardness, stiffness, expansion, toughness

Different tests of mechanical strength are:

Elasticity: When a material can be bent and come back to its original shape.
Yield Strength: The point at which a material is bent and it keeps the new shape.
Ultimate Strength: The point at which a material is bent and it breaks.

Vocabulary:
Static load
Dynamic load
Friction
Physical properties
Mechanical properties
Elasticity
Yield Strength
Ultimate Strength
Chemical properties

Procedure
  1. Explain the concepts mentioned in the Teacher Background section. Tell students about the things that engineers must keep in mind when choosing a material.
    1. Go over Static and Dynamic Loads, and discuss the differences.
    2. Go over friction on tires – when you might want more friction (mountain bikes) and when you might not (racing road bikes).
    3. Talk about physicalmechanical and chemical properties (e.g., physical – weight of the bike for easy of carrying; mechanical – the amount of weight the bike must hold without breaking; chemical – rust resistance for a long-lasting frame).
    4. Talk about elasticityyield strength, and ultimate strength and how these strengths are different and necessary (e.g., a bike frame should have a high ultimate strength but should not be easily bent, even if it does return to it’s original shape).
  2. Discuss why engineers choose certain materias and why they avoid others. Remind students that there are reasons other then strength. Talk about costs, looks, availability, appearance, durability, aerodynamics etc.
  3. As a class, go over the attached chart labeled “Real bike materials sheet”.
    1. Evaluate the differences between steel, aluminum, carbon and titanium.
    2. What are the pros and cons of each material?
    3. Ask students what material they would choose to build themselves a bike.
  4. Distribute materals to the class and give instructions on the activity.
    1. Tell them that they are researching the pros and cons of five different materials.
    2. Pass out the ‘Activity Worksheet’ and materials to be tested. Explain the test categories.
      1. Looks – rate from 1 – 10 the way this material would look on a bike frame.
      2. Weight – rate from 1 – 10 how heavy the material is.
      3. Cost – Rate from 1 – 10 the cost of the material (help students who do not know relative pricings).
      4. Elasticity – rate from 1 – 10 how much the material returns to its original shape when bent.
      5. Yield Strength – rate from 1 – 10 how easy is it to bend the material out of shape.
      6. Ultimate strength – rate 1 -10 how easy it is to break the material.
    3. Have students fill out the chart for the five materials.
  5. When the student have finished testing, have them return to their seats to discuss the activity. Ask:
    1. Which was the best material?
    2. Were any of the materials strong in all of the categories?
    3. What are the trade-offs to using one material over other materials?
    4. Which materials were the strongest (high yield strength and ultimate strength)?
    5. If you had to build a bike out of these materials what material would you choose?
    6. What are other factors we could have considered?
Extensions or Modifications: - Give students limitation, such as cost or weight, and have them choose the best material.
- Talk about what material would be best for a different item (cars, computers, kitchen appliances, etc.).
- Add different material to the list to test.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/bike1.pdf
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/bike2.pdf

Simple Machine Summary

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Simple Machine Summary
Author Kelly Clark
Keywords Simple Machines, pulleys, screws
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description This lesson is a review of simple machines and their use in the real world.
Lesson Objectives: - Introduce pulleys and screws.
- Review real world applications of simple machines.
Materials Needed: - ‘Screws and Pulleys’ Powerpoint
- ‘Simple Machines’ Powerpoint
- Household materials that consist of simple machines
Preparation and Set Up: Be sure that there is some way to present the Powerpoint information (projector, TV, overhead, as handouts etc.).
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Simple machines
Screws
Pulleys
Procedure
  1. Review simple machines and any activities where students have used simple machines.
  2. Introduce the concept of pulleys and screws as extensions of more basic machines – respectively, the wheel and axle, and the inclined ramp.
  3. Show and narrate the ‘Screws and Pulleys’ Powerpoint (attached).
  4. Show the ‘Simple Machines’ Powerpoint and have students identify where simple machines are being used on a piece of paper (numbered 1 – 25). The answer to some pictures may be none.
  5. Tell students to keep in mind that even if a simple machine is present in an object (such as a screw), it does not classify as a machine if it is not performing its function.
  6. If there is time and equipment, let students research household objects that use simple machines and present their findings.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/simple1.pdf
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/simple2.pdf

Ramp Cars: Wheel and Axle

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Ramp Cars: Wheel and Axle
Author Kelly Clark
Keywords ramp, cars, beams, axles, bushings, wheels, Simple Machines, Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy, friction
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Using LEGOs, students will build a car to travel the farthest distance off a ramp.
Lesson Objectives: - To learn about wheels and axles.
- To introduce potential and kinetic energy.
Materials Needed: - LEGO Simple Machine kits or homemade kits with lots of beams, axles, bushings
and wheels.
- Ramp.
- Recording sheet.
- ‘Ramp Cars’ Worksheet.
Preparation and Set Up: - Set up a testing ramp.
– Mark starting point on ramp to start cars.
– Mark the spot at the bottom of the ramp that students will measure distance traveled from.
- Make one copy of the ‘Ramp Cars’ worksheet for each student.

- Arrange students in pairs.
- Distribute materials.
Necessary Background This activity explores the concepts of kinetic and potential energy. A car moving down a slope converts potential energy into kinetic energy. Potential energy is the amount of stored energy the car has when it is sitting at the top of the ramp. As the car moves down the ramp it converts potential energy into kinetic energy – the energy of movement of the car. At the bottom of the ramp the car has converted all the potential energy to kinetic energy. The point just at the bottom of the ramp is the point at which the car has its maximum kinetic energy. The car will slow at the bottom of the ramp due to loss of energy to the floor through friction – the force between the car tires and the ground.

Vocabulary:
Wheel
Axle
Simple machine
Potential energy
Kinetic energy
Friction

Procedure
  1. Tell student that they the design challenge is to build a car that will travel down a ramp and then travel the farthest horizontal distance from the bottom of the ramp.
    1. Tell students about potential energy. The energy that the car has at the top of the ramp before it is released (stored energy). This energy is converted into kinetic energy (the energy of the movement of the car has while moving).
      1. Explain that potential energy is highest at the top of the ramp (explain this by telling students that the car has the ‘potential’ to travel the farthest when it is placed here vs. when it is placed lower on the ramp). Potential energy is affected by gravity and the mass of the car.
      2. Explain that the kinetic energy is highest when the car is just at the bottom of the ramp because this is when it is moving the fastest, but has no more potential energy from being on the ramp.
      3. Explain that the force of friction – the force of the ground on the tires – is what slows the car down when it reaches the bottom of the ramp. Without friction, the car would continue to go forever in the same direction at the same speed.
    2. Tell student that they can build their car however they would like using the material provided. They can change the number of wheels, type of wheels, axles, etc. Remind them to think about potential energy, kinetic energy, and the forces of friction
  2. Have students build and test their cars. Allow each group three tests and record the farthest trial on the board or on a sheet.
  3. Have the students fill out the ‘Ramp Car’ Worksheet.
  4. Bring the class together to discuss the activity.
    1. Talk about what would be different if the ramp was shallower, steeper, rougher, or smoother. Do a demonstration if possible. Use this demo to discuss inclined planes.
    2. Discuss the different designs. Whose car went the farthest? What was different about this design? What did some of the other designs look like and why did they not go as far?
    3. Conclude by asking students how they might improve their designs.
Extensions or Modifications: You can modify this activity to be applicable to older grades by having student graph distance v. time, taking the mass of their cars and predicting how far their car will travel using mathematics.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/ramp1.doc
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/ramp2.pdf
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/ramp3.pdf

Simple Pulleys

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Simple Pulleys
Author STOMP
Keywords pulley, effort, load, Simple Machines
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will learn the basic concept of a pulley and how it is used to life weights.
Lesson Objectives: - To familiarize students with pulleys.
- Introduce a simple machine.
Materials Needed: - LEGO Simple Machines kits.
- Weight.
- String.
Preparation and Set Up: - Photocopy one worksheet per student.
- Gather materials.
- Arrange students in pairs.
- Distribute materials.
Necessary Background Pulleys are simple machines that allow us to lift heavier loads by increasing the distance
required to lift the load (just like levers).Vocabulary:
Pulley
Effort
Load
Procedure
  1. Have students design a pulley on a lego wall that will lift a load up off the table to the top of the wall.
  2. Let student brainstorm what their pulley should look like.
    1. The pulley should have a string wound-up to an axle on the base of the pulley structure.
    2. The pulley should have a solid base and wall to support the pulley wheel when the weight is being lifted.
    3. If possible (depending on age and ability), students should build a container to place the weight in at the top of the wall.
    4. If possible, the pulley should be able to rotate to move the weight into the box at the top of the wall.
    5. Have students brainstorm by drawing out their design on their activity worksheet.
  3. Have students build and test their designs.
  4. When everyone is done let students demonstrate their designs.
    1. Discuss how pulleys make lifting the object easier.
    2. Discuss difficulties and successes students had in this activity.
Extensions or Modifications: - Make the pulley work by using a motor.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/pulley1.pdf

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