Say Hello!





Name of Activity Say Hello!
Author Laura Fradin, Jake Hellman
Keywords NXT, programming, mindstorms, robotics, aguayo, 5th grade, sensors
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 5
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students build and program robots that “interact” with the outside world using a sensor.
Lesson Objectives: -Practice building with NXT kits
-Learn how sensors work and where they should be placed in order to work
-Basic Mindstorm Programming
Materials Needed: -NXT kits
Preparation and Set Up: Jake and I made two example robots with two example programs to give them an idea of how sensors work and a very basic program would be done.
(The easy example programs, “Say Hello” and “Touch Sensor”, are attached and on the outline)
Procedure 1) Introduce the Challenge The Challenge: Build a robot (or modify your robot from last week) that “says hello” to you. This means that it acknowledges your existence it some way. This can be it actually saying hello as in our example program, or can merely have it react (back up, turn, make a noise, display a picture, etc.) to a certain stimulus (light, sound, etc). 2) Split students into smaller groups. Run the example program. Have the students tell you what the robot did. Then go through and go step by step to make the program they just witnessed. 3) Have students plan what they want to do (what sensors they will use, what the robot will do after the sensor is activated, etc) 4) Hand out NXT kits. Allow students to build for one class period. 5) The second class period/hour should be spent programming, testing, and re-programming. 6) Allow students to present
Extensions: -use more than one sensor (create a longer code)
Reference 1

Challenge Day!





Name of Activity Challenge Day!
Author Jay Clark
Keywords difficulty, tasks, points, programming, risk, reward, risk vs. reward, NXT, MINDSTORMS, 3 Hours Total
Subject NXTs
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 3 Hours Total
Brief Description Students choose from a list of different tasks with a range of difficulty levels and varying point values. The group with the most points at the end of the class period wins!
Lesson Objectives: Review Programming Skills.
A first exposure to making risk/reward decisions.
Materials Needed: One NXT kit per group
Computers with Mindstorms NXT software
Black electrical tape
Preparation and Set Up: Put together a list of challenges on a worksheet. They should range in difficulty level from very, very simple to challenges that are more or less impossible to complete. Assign point values to the activities based on their difficulty, keeping in mind that close scores are more fun and drive the students to keep working. An example worksheet is attached below.
Necessary Background This activity is as much of an activity in assessing risk/reward and strategy as it is in programming. Some students will complete many tasks with simple, fundamental programming. Others will bite off more than they can chew, and end up without many points at all.
  • Introduce challenge day and go over what each challenge calls for specifically.
  • Hand out worksheets and set a strict time limit.
  • Update scores on an overhead or white board.
  • After the time is up, talk with children about risk/reward, and about how hard each challenge was. If they could do it over again, which would they choose? which were fastest.
Reference 1

NXT Musical Instrument





Name of Activity NXT Musical Instrument
Author Jay Clark
Keywords Mary Had A Little Lamb, simple song, NXT, switches, sensors, task, instrument, wiring, math blocks, programming, loops, MINDSTORMS, Music Engineering, numerical frequency, audible, pitch, 2 Hours Total
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and other simple songs on their NXT using switches and touch sensors. When students complete that task, they will make an instrument using other sensors, requiring wiring and math blocks in their programs.
Lesson Objectives: Learn about loops, switches, and math blocks
Introduce Musical Instrument Engineering
Understand the relationship between numerical frequency and audible pitch
Materials Needed: NXT Kit
Computer with MINDSTORMS NXT software
Necessary Background Mary had a little lamb is a simple song consisting of just three notes. The notes and corresponding lyrics are below:


ma-ry had a lit-tle lamb


lit-tle lamb, lit-tle lamb


mar-y had a lit-tle lamb


whose fleece was white as snow

All musical notes have a corresponding frequency. Concert A (or middle A) is 440 Hz. In order to play mary had a little lamb using a light or distance sensor, you must know the frequencies of the three notes you’re using:

C – 262

D – 294

E – 330


frequency – the rate at which a vibration occurs. Determines the pitch of a note.

Procedure Introduction Introduce switches to the students. A switch is a program structure that makes decisions based on external criteria, such as a sensor value. Introduce the lesson. Show the students the notes of Mary had a little lamb. Ask them how many touch sensors they would need to play it. Guide them to realize that they could use 2, and there are 4 opportunities for notes to play with two touch sensors: Left pressed, right pressed, both pressed, none pressed. Guide them through brainstorming how the program should look. Usually it’s hard for them to see that the second switch is required. ActivityHave the students program their robots to be able to play mary had a little lamb using switch blocks and sound blocks. When they finish, have them use another sensor and wiring and math blocks in their program to create another musical instrument. Or allow them to use switches with another sensor to set up ranges for each note.
Extensions: Play a different song!
Use touch sensors in conjunction with another sensor to set the octave.
Reference 1

Say “Hello”





Name of Activity Say “Hello”
Author STOMP
Keywords NXT, communicate, message, programming, MINDSTORMS
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will program their NXT to communicate a message.
Lesson Objectives: To learn about how to communicate a message using MINDSTORMS NXT software.
Materials Needed: - One NXT brick per student pair.
- Computer running MINDSTORMS NXT software.
Preparation and Set Up: - Set up computers running MINDSTORMS NXT software.
- Arrange students in pairs.
- Distribute NXT bricks.
  1. Program the NXT to display text on the screen and say hello when a touch sensor is pressed.
    1. Program the NXT to wait for the touch sensor
    2. After the touch sensor has been pressed students will program their computer to convey a message using sound and the NXT display.
    3. When the program is over clear the display.
    4. Loop the program so that the message can be displayed every time the touch sensor is pressed.
  2. Have studnets test and redesign their program. Students can change the message if they desire.
Extensions: - Add a graphic to the display.
- Build a flag or arm to wave to add to your greeting.
Reference 1
Reference 2
Reference 3

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