Voting Machine





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
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.

Mousetrap Problem





Name of Activity Mousetrap – Problem
Author Terry Greene, Merredith Portsmore, Abe Gissen
Keywords Engineering Design Process, problem, research, brainstorm, mousetrap, motor, sensor
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will use steps of the Engineering Design Process to learn about a problem; Identify the Problem, Research the Problem, Brainstorm Possible Solutions. Students will be able to describe the need for mousetraps, different type of mousetraps and possible ways to trap a mouse.

The design challenge is for the students to work as a class to design and build a mousetrap sculpture that has at least nine movable parts, which are connected together. Small groups will work on each part. Each part must use one motor and one sensor.

Lesson Objectives: To understand the steps of the Engineering Design Process
Materials Needed: Mousetrap Game by Milton Bradley
Poster of the design process
Easel with plenty of paper for drafting
Preparation and Set Up: Set up the classroom for easy classroom discussion.
Make a poster of the Engineering Design Process to use as an aid.
  1. Have the students play the Mousetrap Game by Milton Bradley.
  2. In a large group, discuss engineering:
    1. Ask if anyone knows an engineer.
    2. Ask what an engineer does
    3. Discuss what engineers do and what kinds of jobs use engineers.
  3. Display the steps of the Engineering Design Process. Go over each step on the poster and explain that, over the next few weeks, students will use all the steps; working like engineers to complete a challenge.
  4. Discuss the Mousetrap Game
    1. Ask individuals to share their favorite part of the game.
    2. Make connections to simple machines.
    3. Ask students how an engineer might have been involved in designing the game.
  5. Present the design challenge
    1. Tell the students that they are engineers working for a toy company.
    2. They have been asked to design a new toy to be modeled after the Mousetrap Game.
    3. The design challenge is for the students to work as a class to design and build a mousetrap sculpture that has at least nine movable parts, which are connected together. Small groups will work on each part. Each part must use one motor and one sensor.
    4. Explain that the students have already completed steps 1 and 2 of the Engineering Design Process
      1. Identify the Need/Problem
        1. By listening to what the teacher has assigned as the design challenge.
      2. Research the Need/Problem
        1. By playing the game.
  6. Have student brainstorm possible solutions (step 3 of the Engineering Design Process). Draw on math and science to articulate the solutions in two and three dimensions.
  7. Use an easel to record ideas and brainstorm possible ideas for different parts of the mousetrap.
  8. Try to make a list of about 25 possible parts of a mousetrap.
  9. Save these ideas for Day 2.

Day 2:

  1. Review the brainstorming session the class participated in on Day 1.
  2. Explain that the next step in the Engineering Design Process is to Select the Best Possible Solution to the Problem.
  3. Brainstorm a list of criteria for the mousetrap with the students.
  4. Go through the list of original parts and cross out ones that do not meet the criteria.
  5. Set up teams of students (usually 2 works best).
  6. Have each team talk about the different parts and decide on 2 – 3 that they would like to build.
  7. As a large group (whole class), decide which team will build which part of the mousetrap and record this on the easel.
Reference 1ideascriteria-1.doc
Reference 2ideascriteria.doc
Reference 3.doc
Online Reference(s)
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Mousetrap

Introduction to Motors





Name of Activity Introduction to Motors
Author STOMP
Keywords motor, wire, batter, pulley, connection, electricity, axle, band, primary colors
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 1 Hour Total
Lesson Objectives: - To familiarize students with the LEGO motor, wire, and battery pack and how they function
Brief Description In this activity, students will learn to connect the LEGO motor, wire, and battery. Students will use the spinning motor to make a piece of art work that they created. If students have made pulley walls, they will attach their motors to the pulley wall as well.
Materials Needed: - LEGO Simple Machine Kits.
- ‘Color Circles’ Worksheet.
- Extra batteries or battery packs.
- Scissors.
- Tape.
- Markers, crayons, or colored pencils in primary colors.
- Color wheel to explain mixing of primary colors.
Preparation and Set Up:
- Arrange students in pairs.

- Distribute ‘color wheel’ worksheets.
- Distribute markers, crayons, or colored pencils.
- Check that battery packs are working.

Necessary Background N/A
  1. Introduce the new pieces.
    1. Explain that these pieces use electricity and have moving parts. This means that the students will have to be EXTRA CAREFUL and if the pieces are not used properly they will be taken away.
      1. Motors and things attached to motors should NEVER touch people.
      2. Motors should be run at your seat or on the floor. You should NEVER walk around with your motor.
    2. Introduce the new pieces.
    3. Show students how to connect the pieces. Talk about electricity and how it travels through the wire from the battery pack to the motor and that this is why the metal pieces must be connected for the motor to work properly.
  2. Introduce the challenge by talking about primary colors and what happens when you mix two primary colors. Demonstrate what a color wheel is and how two primary colors produce the color between them.
  3. Show students how to color and cut out the circles on their ‘color circles’ worksheet.
  4. Have students color one wheel with two primary colors and the other wheel whatever the students want.
  5. Tape the color circles to a pulley wheel and attach the wheel to a motor that is hooked to a battery pack.
  6. Let the students explore what happens when their color circles spin.
  7. Have students attach their pulley walls consisting of 4 pulley wheels to their motor using an axle extender.
  8. Show students how they can attach 4 color wheels to the same wall and how they will all spin at once.
Extensions or Modifications: - Allow students to do extra color designs on the ‘Color Circle’ worksheet (print out extras).
Sample Image 1

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