Tug-O-War

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Tug-O-War
Author Kara Miranda
Keywords gear, gear ratios, build, machine, tug-o-war, competition, prototype, Engineering Design Process, torque
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 3 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will use their knowledge about gears and gear ratios to build a machine that will play tug-o-war against another classmate’s.
Lesson Objectives: To apply building techniques and knowledge about gears to an activity challenge.
Materials Needed:
RCX or NXT LEGO kits

Assortment of extra LEGO pieces, especially gears and beams
Engineer’s Planning Sheet
String
Scissors
Tape

Preparation and Set Up:
Collect necessary materials
Photocopy worksheets
Arrange students into groups of 2
Decide how you will distribute extra pieces
Write design requirements on the board
Necessary Background Review gears, gear ratios, and torque.

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Engineering Design Process

Gears
Gear ratio
Torque

Procedure
    • Tell students that in this challenge they will be playing tug-o-war by building a machine that can provide enough torque to pull on another machine doing the same thing. String will be tied between the two, and a machine will have to pull the other over a line of tape in order to win.
    • Make sure to review how gears work, gear ratios, and using gears for torque vs. speed. Also explain the engineering design process.
    • Tell students the requirements for their tug-o-war contenders. Examples of requirements are:
    •       Must use gears
    •       Must have a sensor
    • Allow the class to brainstorm different ideas for their machines. 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 tying string to their machine.
    • After the students finish building, pair up machines and tie them to either end of a string, making sure the middle of the string is right above the tape on the ground, and that both machines are equidistant from the tape.
    • Have the students start their machines. Whoever’s machine gets pulled over the line first, loses.
  • 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 add more gears
Make a classwide tug-o-war competition. Whose is the “strongest”?
Allow those who lose to redesign and compete against each other again
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/a.pdf

Catapult

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

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
Glue
Tape
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.

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Engineering Design Process

Catapult
Lever (first, second, and third class)
Fulcrum
Force
Load

Procedure
    • 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 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/111_image_1.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/111_image_2.jpg
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Building_Design_Sheet3.pdf

Spin Art

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Spin Art
Author Kara Miranda
Keywords 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
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description 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.*
Lesson Objectives: To apply building techniques and knowledge about gears to an activity challenge.
Materials Needed: 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
Preparation and Set Up: 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
Necessary Background Review gears and gear ratios

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Engineering Design Process
Gears
Gear ratio

Procedure
  • 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.
Extensions: 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)
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/a.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/b.jpg
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/c1.pdf

Hand Mixer

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Hand Mixer
Author Kara Miranda
Keywords hand mixer, gears, gear ratios, not classroom tested, prototype, Engineering Design Process, 4-6, 7-9, 2 Hours Total
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will design and build a hand mixer, learning how to use different gears in a variety of ways. *NOTE: not classroom tested.
Lesson Objectives: To apply building techniques and knowledge about gears to an activity challenge.
Materials Needed: RCX or NXT LEGO kits
Photos of different hand mixer designs
Assortment of extra LEGO pieces, especially gears and beams
Building Design Sheet
Preparation and Set Up: Collect necessary materials
Photocopy worksheets
Arrange students into groups of 3
Decide how you will distribute extra pieces
Write design requirements on the board
Necessary Background Review Gears and Gear Ratios

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Engineering Design Process
Gears
Gear Ratios

Procedure
  • Tell students that in this challenge they will be building a hand mixer.
  • Show students different pictures and/or videos of hand mixers, 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 prototype and redesign.
  • Tell them the requirements for their hand mixers. For example:
  •      Must have at least three gears
  •      Can be a manual or electric hand mixer
  • Allow the class to brainstorm different ideas for their mixer design. Have them plan out and draw their design on the Building Design Sheet.
  • Distribute materials and have students start building.
  • 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 add more gears.
Have students make the bottom of their hand mixer spin faster or slower by adjusting the gear ratio.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/109_image_1.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/109_image_2.jpg
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Building-Design-Sheet.pdf

Paper Towers

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Paper Towers
Author STOMP
Keywords towers, constraints, materials, weight, Engineering Design Process, sturdy structures, strong shapes, architect, design, prototype, redesign
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will build towers out of a limited amount of materials that can hold up a set amount of weight (like a stack of books).
Lesson Objectives: To introduce students to the engineering design process.
To teach students about sturdy structures and strong shapes.
Materials Needed: For each student group:

Activity worksheet
18 inches of tape
5 paper clips
5 index cards
8 sheets of 8-1/2 x 11 paper
Some sort of weight to put on the tower (like a stack of books)

Preparation and Set Up: - Arrange students into groups of 2.
- Gather materials and photocopy worksheets.
- Make a poster or handouts of the engineering design process.
Necessary Background The engineering design process is an eight step process that engineers use to design

1. Identify the need or problem
2. Research the need or problem
3. Develop possible solution(s)
4. Select the best possible solution(s)
5. Construct a prototype
6. Test and evaluate the solution(s)
7. Communicate the solution(s)
8. Redesign

Vocabulary:
You can highlight any of the following vocabulary in this lesson:

Engineering design process
Engineer
Architect
Design
Prototype
Redesign
Sturdy

Procedure
  1. Begin the lesson by introducing the engineering design process. Explain how students will use the engineering design process in their lesson to construct a tower out of paper:
    1. Identify Problem: You need to build a tower that will support a weight (stack of books).
    2. Research: discuss as a class some ways that you might make your tower sturdy, like how to distribute the weight, what shapes might help you, etc.
    3. Develop Possible Solutions: The class will draw out some possible designs on a sheet of papers.
    4. Select the Best Possible solution(s): Student groups should discuss their ideas and select one design to actually build.
    5. Construct a Prototype: Students will build their towers
    6. Test and evaluate: Students will test their designs by placing the weight on their towers. Students can either tests their designs as they finish, or each group can test in front of the class when everyone has finished building. How much weight can the tower hold?
    7. Communicate the solution(s): Have students share their designs. Discuss as a class the following questions:
      1. What designs seemed to work the best?
      2. What were some ways that towers failed?
        1. did they tip over or crush?
      3. What were some shapes that worked best to hold the towers?
      4. What materials seemed to be most useful?
    8. Redesign: In this activity students will not actually redesign their structures, but you should discuss as a class how different groups might improve their designs.
Extensions: Have students redesign their towers. How does the second tower’s performance compare to the first? What were some design changes?
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/tower_worksheet.doc

Mousetrap Building, Testing, and Redesigning

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

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.)
Dominoes
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).

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Design
Evaluate

Procedure
  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 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/2buildtestredesign.pdf
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/mousetrapoverview1.doc
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/designing_mousetrap_worksheet-1.pdf
Reference 4 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/designing_mousetrap_worksheet.pdf
Online Reference(s) http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/current.html-MassachusettsScienceandTechnology/EngineeringCurriculumFramework(May2001),http://www.ceeo.tufts.edu/robolabatceeo/-CEEOCurriculumWebsite

Bicycle Unit: Monster Bikes

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Bicycle Unit: Monster Bike
Author STOMP
Keywords audience, design, monster bike, specific needs, target audience, prototype
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will talk about how engineers have to consider the audience that they are designing for before creating a design. Students will use this discussion to design a bike for a monster with specific needs.
Lesson Objectives: - To understand targeting audiences in engineering design.
- To practice drawing and producing prototypes.
Materials Needed: - Large poster sized paper
- Large colored markers
- Monster Bike Handouts
Preparation and Set Up: - Arrange students in groups of 2 – 3.
- Distribute materials to each group.
Necessary Background When engineers design machines, they have to be aware of the audience that they are targeting with their product. there are many features of the bike that make it not only pleasing to the human eye, but comfortable and practical for human use. for example, a bike for a little girl might be small enough for her, have training wheels to help her ride, be painted her favorite color, and have frilly streamers coming off the sides.

There are many questions that an engineer has ask about their audience. A few examples are:

Who is the audience?

What sort of features does the target audience wand on their machine?

What does the audience like? dislike?

What can the audience do? not do?

Does the product look appealing to the audience?

Does the product function for the audience?

Vocabulary:
Audience
Engineering design

Procedure
  1. Tell students to brainstorm what a vehicle might look like when the target audience is a monster.
  2. Tell students that, like a bike, the monster will power the vehicle. Tell the students that their vehicle does not have to look anything like a bike and to be creative.
  3. The monster:
    1. Is as tall as three people.
    2. Weighs 500 pounds.
    3. Has three very long arms.
    4. Has no eyes.
    5. Uses his front antennae to feel around.
    6. Gets seasick when he leans forward.
    7. Can hear very well.
    8. Can blow lots and lots of air.
    9. Has a very large bottom.
    10. Likes to ride over rocky and hilly surfaces.
    11. Has very short legs and small feet.
    12. Has a very delicate head.
    13. Has very large hands.
  4. Have the students draw out their prototype of the vehicle on the poster. Have each group pick a catchy slogan to write on the poster.
  5. On the worksheet, have students write down features of the vehicle and why they included these features.
  6. Display the posters in the front of the class.
  7. Allow each group to show off 2 -3 features of their vehicle and share why they included them as if they were selling the vehicle to the monster.
  8. Have a class discussion about the designs. Ask students:
    1. Which of the monster’s characteristics made it most difficult to design the vehicle?
    2. Are any features on different groups designs similar? Why or why not?
    3. Would this vehicle work for a human? Why or why not?
    4. Which features would the monster like the best? Which would he dislike?
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/monster1.pdf

Snow! Snow! Snow!

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Snow! Snow! Snow!
Author STOMP
Keywords vehicle, snow, Simple Machines, prototype, Engineering Design Process, constraints
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will be asked to design a vehicle that will clear three different types of “snow” from a path with a motorized simple machines car.
Lesson Objectives: - To engage students in an open-ended engineering design challenge that utilizes their motorized vehicles and allows students to make a connection with the real world.
Materials Needed: - Tape to mark the ‘road’.
- Packing peanuts (light snow).
- Extra white LEGO bricks (medium snow).
- Wet paper towel or small stones (wet/heavy snow).
- LEGO Simple Machines kits.
- ‘Engineer’s Planning Worksheet’.
- ‘Engineer’s Final Report’ Worksheet’.
- Pictures of different snowplow designs.
For Extensions:
- Ruler.
- Blank paper for advertisement.
Preparation and Set Up: - Obtain three different types of snow.
- Set up three ‘roads’ with tape, one as a test site for each type of snow (light, medium, wet/heavy).
- Print out enough worksheets for the class.
- Print out photos of different snowplow designs/methods for removing snow (shovels, snowblowers, plows).
- Arrange students in pairs.
- Distribute LEGO Simple Machines kits.
Necessary Background the engineering design process is an eight step process that engineers use to design:

Step 1. Identify the need/problem

Step 2. Research the need/problem

Step 3. Develop possible solutions

Step 4. Select the best possible solution

Step 5. Construct a prototype

Step 6. Test and evaluate the solution(s)

Step 7. Communicate the solution(s)

Step 8. Redesign

Vocabulary:
All pieces in LEGO Simple Machines kits
Prototype
Engineering design process
Constraints

Procedure Author: STOMP Time: 1 – 2 one-hour class periods Description: Students will be asked to design a vehicle that will clear three different types of “snow” from a path with a motorized simple machines car. Grade Level:

  • K-3

Lesson Objectives: To engage students in an open-ended engineering design challenge that utilizes their motorized vehicles and allows students to make a connection with the real world. Materials Needed:

  • Tape to mark “road”
  • Packing Peanuts (light snow)
  • Extra white LEGO bricks (medium snow)
  • Wet Paper towel or small stones (wet/heavy snow)
  • LEGO Simple Machines kits
  • ‘Engineer’s Planning Worksheet’
  • ‘Engineer’s Final Report’ Worksheet
  • Pictures of different snowplow designs.

For Extensions

  • Ruler
  • Blank paper for advertisement.

Preparation and Setup:

  • Obtain three different types of snow.
  • Set up three “roads” with tape, one as a test site for each type of snow (light, medium, wet/heavy).
  • Print out enough worksheets for the class.
  • Print out photos of different snowplow designs/methods for removing snow (shovels, snowblowers, plows).
  • Arrange students in pairs
  • Distribute LEGO Simple Machines kits

Teacher Background: the engineering design process is an eight step process that engineers use to design: Step 1. Identify the need/problem Step 2. Research the need/problem Step 3. Develop possible solutions Step 4. Select the best possible solution Step 5. Construct a prototype Step 6. Test and evaluate the solution(s) Step 7. Communicate the solution(s) Step 8. Redesign Vocabulary:

  • All pieces in LEGO Simple Machines kits
  • Prototype
  • Engineering design process
  • Constraints

Procedure: Talk about this lesson using the Engineering Design Process

  1. Identify Problem: Pose this design challenge as the problem: The town’s people need a vehicle that can drive around and clear the roads of snow so that cars can drive on them.
  2. Research:  Think about vehicles that clear the road of snow and different types of plows (show photographs).
  3. Brainstorm: Talk about how you might build some of the ideas in research out of LEGO materials.
  4. Choose and Plan: Have students fill out the ‘Engineer’s Planning Sheet’ and have each partner circle what they will build.
  5. Create:Have students build their design and help students solve design challenges.
  6. Test: Explain the tests that the students must pass:
    1. Pick-Up Test: The design must stay together when it is picked up
    2. Snow Tests:
      1. Light Snow: The vehicle must be able to clear a path in the cotton balls
      2. Medium Snow: The vehicle must be able to clear a path in the LEGO bricks
      3. Heavy Snow: The vehicle must be able to clear a path in the wet paper towels.
  7. Redesign: Have students rebuild vehicles until they have passed all the tests and can clear every type of snow.
  8. Share: Have students fill out the ‘Final Report’ worksheet. Come together as a class.
    1. Compare different designs (straight plows, V-plows, width of plows, proximity to the ground, number of pieces).
    2. Talk about difficulties in building and the solutions students came up with.
Extensions or Modifications: - Few students may actually complete this lesson, so have those who do help other students.
- Students can create an advertisement for their snow plow, writing/drawing why it is a good design.
- Students can use this as a counting and categorizing exercise:
– How many beams did you use?
– How many plates?
– What are the measurements of your car?

Modifications:
- Record what students have passed what tests with a chart.
- If student’s plows are too low to the ground have the students raise the plows.

Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Snow1.pdf
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Snow2.pdf

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