Wedo Cars





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

LEGO House





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
  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

Inclined Planes





Name of Activity Inclined Planes
Author STOMP
Keywords inclined planes, ramps, lego, simple machines, found materials
Subject Simple Machines, LEGO Building
Grade Level 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will practice building inclined planes of all sorts (tubes, ramps, tilts) in order to have a ball object roll across the table/space.
Lesson Objectives: Use engineering design process to work and collaborate in groups efficiently.
Introduce students to building inclined planes and inspire creativity for the future rube goldberg final project.
Materials Needed: found materials, legos, any classroom materials that seem helpful, tape, poster board, cardboard.
Preparation and Set Up: Spend about five-ten minutes gathering groups and encouraging brainstorming before building. Provide each group an NXT kit for lego parts, tape, and poster board/cardboard.
Necessary Background Inclined planes, slopes, speed, force
  1. Review inclined planes.
  2. Identify the goal: to allow ball to travel at least 2-3 inclined planes across a table or space.
  3. Divide into groups and allow students to develop possible solutions.
  4. Before giving materials allow each group to decide the best possible solution for their group given certain materials.
  5. Allow students to construct/build.
  6. Allow 5 minutes for Testing for each group before redesigning.
  7. Encourage communication within groups.
Extensions: Tell students to use more than 2-3 inclined planes.
Have students incorporate a previous activity (an other simple machine) into their works.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Simple Machines

Mariana & Alyssa Semester 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

New Test Activity





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.
  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.






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
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.

Engineering Design Process

Lever (first, second, and third class)

    • 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
Reference 2
Reference 3

Speed Fans





Name of Activity Speed Fans
Author STOMP
Keywords fan, LEGO, speed, touch sensor, programming, 1 Hour Total, 4-6
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description The activity involves building a fan out of LEGOs and creating a MINDSTORMS program that will change the speed of the fan every time the touch sensor is pressed.
Lesson Objectives: Gain basic understanding of programming with MINDSTORMS.
Materials Needed: NXT Kits/ RCX Kits.

Computers with MINDSTORMS or ROBOLAB installed.

Necessary Background Knowledge of programming with MINDSTORMS.


Touch sensor

Power Levels

Procedure 1) Explain the basics of programming. 2) Distribute the kits and explain the task ( i.e. to build a fan that changes speed when the touch sensor is pressed) 3) Have the students build a fan out of LEGOs in their kits. 4) Let the students try to figure out how to program the fan on their own. If they need help explain to them how the power level of the motor can be changed every time the touch sensor is pressed thus changing the speed of the fan.
Extensions: Program the fan using loops.
Use the activity to talk about air flow.

Measuring Volume





Name of Activity Measuring Volume
Author Laurie Cormler
Keywords units, perimeter, area, volume, measurements, surface area, LEGO
Subject Non-LEGO, LEGO Building
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will learn about units, perimeter, area and volume by measuring various
objects around a room and finding their volume and surface area.
Lesson Objectives: To learn about volume, area, and perimeter.
To learn about three dimensional space.
Materials Needed: LEGO shapes (a cube of LEGO bricks)
Scrap paper
Preparation and Set Up: Make copies of activity worksheet (attached).
Arrange Students into groups of 2.
Distribute materials.
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
  1. Have students fill out the beginning of the worksheet that asks for definitions and formulas. If students do not know these formulas write them on the board and have students copy them down.
  2. Next, have student measure various objects in the room with units such as thumb or arm lengths.
  3. Next have students find the volume of LEGO shapes and figure out how many bricks would make the object a complete cube.
  4. Finally, have student create their own object using the template on the worksheet and figure out the volume using a ruler (The dimensions should fit on the paper).
Extensions: Have students find a conversion factor from thumb units to inches or centimeters.
Reference 1
Reference 2

Music Box





Name of Activity Music Box
Author STOMP
Keywords NXT, music, music box, LEGO, figures, song, gears
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description In this activity, students will design and construct a working NXT music box in which LEGO mini-figures move while a song plays.
Lesson Objectives: - To learn to build with gears.
- To learn to program music.
Materials Needed: RCX or NXT
Assortment of LEGO pieces
Touch sensor
Computers running LEGO programming software
Preparation and Set Up: Set up computers running LEGO programming software.
Arrange students in groups of two.
Distribute necessary materials.
  1. Have students build a music box using either an RCX or NXT.
  2. The music box should consist of at least 1 sensor to turn it on a motor and gears.
  3. Once students have built their music boxes, begin programming in ROBOLAB Inventor 4 or MINDSTORMS.
    1. The music box should play when a sensor is triggered.
    2. When the sensor is triggered the motor should turn gears that move the mini-figures and the music should play.
    3. When the sensor is triggered again, the music box should stop the movement and music.
Reference 1
Reference 2

Mousetrap Building, Testing, and Redesigning





Name of Activity Mousetrap Building, Testing, and Redesigning
Author Terry Greene, Merredith Portsmore, Abe Gissen
Keywords mousetrap, LEGO, sculpture, test, evaluate, redesign, prototype, engineering design process
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 4 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will construct a prototype of a part of the Mousetrap LEGO sculpture. They will test, evaluate, and redesign the part.
Lesson Objectives: To gain experience with and build an understanding of the steps of the engineering design process.
Materials Needed: LEGO Team Challenge kits for each group of 2 – 4
Computer running ROBOLAB
IR tower
MINDSTORMS for schools using ROBOLAB manual (in kits)
Designing a Mousetrap Sculpture Response Sheet

Mousetrap Game by Milton Bradley
Poster of the design process

Various kinds of balls (tennis, golf, marbles, etc.)
Twine, string, or rope
Extra LEGO pieces for building, LEGO people, LEGO animals
Paper, tape, cardboard, oaktag, markers

Preparation and Set Up: Gather necessary materials.
Designate a spot in the classroom for project storage.
Make enough copies of the worksheet (attached) for every student in the class.
Arrange students into groups of 2 – 4.
Distribute necessary materials.
Necessary Background Teachers should review the engineering design process so that they can emphasize the process in class (see attached document).


  1. Begin by asking the small groups to sit next to each other.
  2. Review the charts form last class in which each team agreed to build of the parts of the Mousetrap Sculpture.
  3. Give each student a copy of the “Designing a Mousetrap” Worksheet.
  4. Explain that before any building starts, engineers draw and write their ideas down so that they can come back to them later in the project.
  5. Explain that the groups will be completing the worksheets together, each writing their ideas down.
  6. When students have completed the worksheet, review it with the team and save them later for review.
  7. Let students begin building.
  8. Check in with the groups at the start of the class. Help direct groups that are having trouble. Give them building ideas.
  9. Half way through the project have a check with the while class, setting clear time limits on finishing the project.
  10. Decide as a class the order of the parts of the mousetrap.
  11. Brainstorm how to connect the different parts.
  12. Set a timeline for the parts to be completed and for the presentation.
Reference 1buildtestredesign.pdf
Reference 21.doc
Reference 3
Reference 4
Online Reference(s),

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