Name of Unit Teamwork in Engineering
Author(s) Jen Scinto + Ali Boreiko
School Josiah Quincy School
Teacher Stevens
Brief Description This unit uses a wide variety of activities (both NXT and non-LEGO) to help students develop better interpersonal skills in the classroom. Students should already have basic experience with NXT.
Grade(s) 5
Keywords communication, social, non-LEGO, NXT, teamwork
Number of Weeks 9
Week 1 Open the class by setting behavioral expectations for the unit. Have students finish the sentence: “Good engineers…” (e.g. Good engineers treat others with respect. Good engineers keep trying when something doesn’t work. Good engineers aren’t afraid to fail.) Try to keep the sentences positive (e.g. Not “Good engineers don’t say mean things.” Instead, “Good engineers compliment one another.”) Keep the conversation fun by allowing kids to brainstorm in little groups or write their answers on the whiteboard. Do the activityCommunication Towers.
Week 2 Building on the theme of communication, students are asked to create a Rube Goldberg Machine (RGM) as a whole class. Warm up by watching 2 RGM videos online. Then have the students break up into their work groups. Each group should list as many different mechanisms that they saw in the videos (e.g. slides, dropping balls, rolling). At the end of 1-2 minutes, tell the kids to put their pencils down. Walk to each group and count how many ideas each group came up with. The group with the most answers gets to pick which spot on the machine they want first. Then, do the activity Rube Goldberg Machine. Allow them to use found materials or NXTs (if they have already had experience with them).
Week 3 Continue the Rube Goldberg Machine.Encourage groups to discuss with one another and to stay positive.
Week 4 Bring instructions to make a simple car. Have the students build the cars as an assembly line. Discuss the importance of teamwork and delegation to make big tasks easier. Simple programming challenge (TBD).
Week 5 Simple programming challenge (TBD)
Week 6 Introduce the toy activity.
Week 7 Continue work on the toy activity.
Week 8 Continue work on the toy activity.
Week 9 Each group presents their toy! Give the kids time to play with all the toys. Encourage them to say nice things about their classmates’ projects.

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