Hover Crafts

Name of Activity Hover Crafts
Author STOMP
Keywords air resistance, design engineering, aeronautical engineering, wind, tunnel, fan
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Given some basic household supplies (popsicle sticks, paper, foam, aluminum foil, straws, clothes pins, etc), students were asked to create a “hover craft” that could remain in the air inside a wind tunnel created using a tunnel and a fan.
Lesson Objectives: -Emphasize the engineering design process and the need for testing and redesigning.
-Discuss and explore air resistance and forces.
Materials Needed: -wind tunnel
-popsicle sticks
-aluminum foil
-clothes pins
-construction paper
-Activity Worksheet
Preparation and Set Up: -Print out enough copies of the activity worksheet
-separate materials into bags will equal numbers of each material per group
-set up the wind tunnel by placing the tunnel on top of the fan and turning the fan on
Necessary Background -Discuss air resistance
-Discuss design engineering/aeronautical engineering
Procedure 1. Explain the challenge–to create a hovercraft that stays in the air the longest. 2. Students draw initial designs and then discuss their designs in their groups. 3. Students combine ideas into one design and then may begin to build with the materials. 4. Students test and redesign throughout the class period evaluating what is working well and what isn’t. 5. The class discusses the best and worst pieces of their many designs and discusses why they might have worked/not worked.
Extensions: To make the activity more difficult, you may give students fewer materials or give them a “budget” with which to “buy” materials.
Modifications: It is important not to use too strong a fan or else no matter what they make, it will just fly out of the tunnel.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/worksheet-for-aeronautical-engineering.docx
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Types of Engineering

Light at the Beginning of the Tunnel





Name of Activity Light at the Beginning of the Tunnel
Author STOMP
Keywords NXT, car, light sensor, tunnel, drive, reverse, ambient light
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description In this activity, students will build or be provided with a pre-built NXT car with a light
sensor attached. Students will program their NXT car to drive into a tunnel and then
reverse out of the tunnel when the ambient light gets too dark. The car will stop when
the ambient light increases and the car is out of the tunnel.
Lesson Objectives: - To program light sensors according to the ambient light in the surrounding environment.
Materials Needed: - NXT Car.
- Light sensor.
- Tunnel.
- Computer running LEGO NXT software.
Preparation and Set Up: Set up computers running LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Software.
Build a tunnel that is large enough for an NXT car to drive into.
Arrange students in pairs.
Distribute necessary materials.
Necessary Background This activity can be introduced as designing a safety feature for your car so that it does not drive into an unsafe, dark area.
  1. Have students build or provide a pre-built NXT car with a light sensor attached to the front of the car.
  2. Use MINDSTORMS NXT to program the NXT car.
    1. Check the ambient light value inside and outside the tunnel. To do this:
      1. Turn on the NXT and place it where you want to take your reading.
      2. Use the key pad to scroll over until you find the “View” option.
      3. Select the “View” option using the orange center button.
      4. Scroll over until you find “ambient light”and select “ambient light” using the orange center button.
      5. Scroll over to select the port that the light sensor is wired to. A percentage value should appear on your screen.
    2. Program your car to drive until it read a darker value a little bit above the reading that you got in the tunnel.
    3. Program your car to drive backwards until it reads a light value that is a little less than the ambient light value in the room.
    4. Test the cars. If the car does not respond as you wish, try changing the value that the light sensor is searching for.
Extensions or Modifications: Have students program their car to stay in the tunnel, this can be related to an animal who cannot leave its home in broad daylight without being eaten.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/61_image_2.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/61_image_3.png
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Light_Tunnel.doc

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