## NXT Calculator

Name of Activity NXT Calculator Jay Clark NXT, calculator, build, operate, numbers, math block, display block, user interface, 1 Hour Total NXTs 7, 8, 9+ 1 Hour Total Students build and program an NXT calculator that can operate on two numbers. Programming with the math block Learning the display block A first exposure to user interfaces 1 NXT kit per group Computers with Minstorms NXT software This is an open ended challenge that is sure to challenge students’ programming knowledge and yield many unique solutions. Students must think about how they are going to input numbers, and how they are going to choose the operator. http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/l.jpg

## Challenge Day!

Name of Activity Challenge Day! Jay Clark difficulty, tasks, points, programming, risk, reward, risk vs. reward, NXT, MINDSTORMS, 3 Hours Total NXTs K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+ 3 Hours Total 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! Review Programming Skills. A first exposure to making risk/reward decisions. One NXT kit per group Computers with Mindstorms NXT software Black electrical tape 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. 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. http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/i.doc

## Peak Performance

Name of Activity Peak Performance Jay Clark NXT, car, course, fastest, flat, inclined, gear, gear ratios, torque, speed, optimization, building, drive gear, driven gear, 1 Hour Total NXTs K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+ 1 Hour Total Students must gear their NXT car to complete the course the fastest. The course consists of a flat section and an inclined section. To learn about gear ratios, gearing for torque vs gearing for speed, optimization, and building. NXT kit Ramp Computers running MINDSTORMS Prepare one or more courses – With a flat beginning and an incline ending. The length of both sections will determine the optimum gear ratio. To allow for extensions, set up other courses with varying distances of the course components. Using gear ratios students can gear their cars for more torque or more speed. If the drive gear is bigger than the driven gear, the car will be geared for speed. If the other way around, it will be geared for torque. A car geared for torque will be slower, but will climb better. A car geared for speed will be quick, but might not be able to climb the ramp. Vocabulary: Gear Ratio – The ratio of the speed of rotation of the drive gear of a gear train to that of the driven gear. Drive Gear- The gear attached to the source of torque. (Usually the motor). Driven Gear – The gear that receives motion from the drive gear. Optimization – Finding a balance between design concerns that yields the best solution. Introduction – 10 Minutes Ask students if they’ve ever used gears before. More than likely, they’ve driven a 10 speed bike before, and never knew how the gears worked. Introduce students to gears and gear ratios. Using a pre-made gear train, show them the size of the drive gear and the driven gear, and ask if the driven gear will spin faster or slower than the drive. If they are having trouble seeing it, ask them for every one rotation of the drive gear, how many times does the driven gear rotate? Explain torque vs. speed. ie. tugboats – high torque, low speed. Handheld fans- high speed, low torque. Introduce the concept of optimization. Introduce the activity Activity – 40 minutes Clean up/ Wrap up – 10 minutes What was easiest? What was hardest?  What would you have done differently?  What were some good ideas you saw that other groups came up with? Have the students try a different course with different dimensions and slopes. http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/e.jpg http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/f.jpg

## Spin Art

Name of Activity Spin Art Kara Miranda open-ended, design, challenge, design, build, spin, create, art, markers, crayons, paint, art supplies, not classroom tested, NXT, toys, prototype, Engineering Design Process, Gears, gear ratios, 4-6, 7-9, 2 Hours Total NXTs 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+ 2 Hours Total An open-ended design challenge in which students will design and build an object that will spin in some manner to create art with markers, crayons, paint, or other art supplies. *This activity is not classroom tested.* To apply building techniques and knowledge about gears to an activity challenge. RCX or NXT LEGO kits Example photos of toys that create spin art Assortment of extra LEGO pieces, especially gears and beams Engineer’s Planning Sheet Markers, crayons, paint, or other art supplies Tape (to tape markers, crayons etc. to LEGO pieces) Large sheets of paper to draw on Collect necessary materials Tape down large sheets of paper to floor if necessary Photocopy worksheets Arrange students into groups of 3 Decide how you will distribute extra pieces and drawing utensils Write design requirements on the board Review gears and gear ratios Vocabulary: Prototype Engineering Design Process Gears Gear ratio Tell students that in this challenge they will be making spin art. Explain to them what spin art is and the different ways they can go about making it. Spin art is created by any medium spinning in some manner, whether it is the marker drawing in circles, paint being spun, or paper being rotated, etc. Students may attach these things to a car that they program, or a stationary object, or whatever they choose; this activity is very open ended for students design-wise. Show students different pictures and/or videos of spin art toys, explaining what they do and how they work. Also, it may be a good idea to review how gears work. Explain the engineering design process, emphasizing the prototype and the redesign. Tell them the requirements for their spin art makers. Examples of requirements are:       Must have at least three gears       Can be manual or electric       Must use two different mediums (i.e. markers and paint, paint and crayons, etc) Allow the class to brainstorm different ideas for their spin art design. Have them plan out and draw their design on the engineering planning sheet. Distribute materials and have students start building. You may have to assist students with taping markers to their project. 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. Have students add more gears Have students add more drawing utensils (more markers, etc) Have students put their drawing utensils on different axes (i.e. one paintbrush horizontal and one marker vertical) Have students add a sensor that causes something on their spin art maker to perform some act (i.e. when the light sensor senses white, the blue marker starts spinning) http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/a.jpg http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/b.jpg http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/c1.pdf