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

Orbits of the Earth, Moon, and Sun





Name of Activity Orbits of the Earth, Moon, and Sun
Author Michael Hart, Usula Deelstra
Keywords earth, moon, sun, models, rotation, tilt, relative size, seasons, stars, size, motion
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description The class will explore the relation between the Earth, moon, and sun using classroom models.
Lesson Objectives: The Purpose of this activity is to discuss how the Earth, moon, and sun move relative to each other. And to discuss rotation, tilt, and relative size. In regards to relative size, a physical activity is introduced to help enhance the concept of the relation of the Earth, moon, and sun to each other.
Materials Needed: - Balloons.
- Tape Measure.
- Globe.
- Flashlight.
Necessary Background This activity deals with the orbit of the earth around the sun and the orbit of the moon around the earth. It takes the earth one year (365 days) to orbit the sun. At the same time, the earth is rotating about its own axis. The earth makes one complete rotation once a day. The combination of the rotation of the earth, its orbit about the sun, and the earth’s natural tilt cause seasons on the earth. For a more detailed description see This website contains information about the earth’s orbit, its rotation, and the seasons. Similar to the earth, the moon has an orbit and rotation also. A description of the moon can be found at


  1. Begin the activity by discussing facts relating to the Earth, moon and sun.
  2. Talk about how the three move relative to each other.
  3. Select three students to imitate the motion of the sun, Earth, and moon.
    1. Have the Earth stand in place and turn around, talk about how one turn is one day.
    2. Have the Earth walk one lap around the sun, imitating the passing of one year on Earth.
    3. Have the student carefully do both movements together.
    4. Next add the moon. Have the moon orbit the Earth, it takes 28 days for the moon to orbit the Earth. During this time we see all the stages of the moon.
    5. Finally, put all the movements together.
  4. Discus the tilt of the Earth, and how it produces seasons.
    1. Turn out the lights. Using the globe and flashlight have one student hold the flashlight representing the sun.
    2. Have a second student walk around the flashlight with the globe.
    3. Show students that as the globe moves around the sun, the northern or southern hemispheres will be tilted towards the sun, these are the different seasons.
  5. Discuss the relative sizes of the sun, moon, and Earth.
    1. The sun is the largest, but to us it appears about the same size as the moon because it is so much farther away.
    2. Have students break into groups of two.
    3. One student will get a small balloon and the other a larger balloon.
    4. The student with the small balloon will tell the student with the large balloon to walk backwards until the balloons appear to be the same size
    5. Finally, ask students to discuss the relationship between the size that an object appears and the distance from you that it is. Finally, explain that we “built” our own models today to explore the motion of the planets, engineers use models to understand systems like the solar system that are too big to make life-sized models to study.
Reference 1

Snail Car





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.
  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
Reference 2

Solar System Rotation and Revolution





Name of Activity Solar System Rotation and Revolution
Author STOMP
Keywords model, solar system, rotation, orbits, sun, revolution, motion
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will create a working model of the solar system.
Lesson Objectives: To develop an understanding about planets rotating on their axes and their revolution around the sun within orbits.
Materials Needed: Video of the solar system
Large, teacher made diagram of the solar system
Teacher made planet info cards
Picture of the planet.
Distance and order from sun
Planet before and after it
Amount of time for one rotation
Four planet markers for each planet (picture and name of planet
Tape Measures
Preparation and Set Up: Make large solar system diagram.
Construct planet info cards.
Create planet markers.
Collect materials.
Arrange students into four groups.
Distribute materials to the class.
Necessary Background Use online resources to find information on planets. Try as a resource.



  1. Show students video on solar system. This video should include information about rotation and revolution.
  2. Talk about the meaning of rotation and revolution.
  3. Ask the students:
    1. How can you demonstrate the motions in the solar system?
  4. Break into groups and tell students that they can use anything in the classroom to aid their demonstration.
  5. Students will be allowed approximately 10 minutes to complete the task.
  6. Have each group present their demonstration.
  7. After the group demonstrations, explain to students that they will recreate a model of the solar system’s motions by using themselves as the sun and planets.
    1. Assign individuals, or small groups of individuals to be a specific planet, or the sun.
    2. Each group will be given a ball of string, four planet marker cards, and a planet info card that tells them the length of string they should cut to replicate their planets orbit.
    3. Bring the class to a large open area.
      1. You could clear the classroom by pushing desks to the side, go outside, use gymnasium or multi-purpose room.
    4. Decide where to place the sun first.
    5. The “Planet” groups will use tape measures to determine how far away from the sun they should stand. Students should place their markers at 4 spots with the same radius from the sun where their orbit will be.
    6. Have students place their strings to mark their orbits.
    7. Each student group will choose one member to stand on their orbit in a straight line from the sun.
    8. Using one student as an example show how the student would revolve around the sun while rotating on their axis.
    9. Have nine the students orbit the sun, each representing a planet.
  8. Have the class come together to discuss the difference between rotation and revolution. Students can write their explanations on a paper using words or diagrams.
Reference 1
Online Reference(s)
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Solar System

Gait Analysis





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:
  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
Reference 2
Reference 3

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