Name of Unit Animal Building Unit, Structural and Functional (Ms. Flores Class- Healey 4th Grade)
Author(s) Pami Anderson and Abdur Rehman Rashid
Brief Description This unit is made for a fourth grade class being introduced to NXTs. It begins by having the students familiarize themselves with the NXTs parts and make a structural animal with no motors or sensors. Then the students pick functional tasks that their animal performs and builds a new animal that is able to move, sense etc.
Keywords NXTs, Animal, 4th Grade, Structural, Functional
Number of Weeks 8
Week 1 LESSON 1:  Introduction Day: Briefly introduce engineering, ask the students what they think it is and then give some examples of what we as engineers do!

Spaghetti tower activity: hand out materials to groups of 2 students and explain that they have a given amount of time to build the highest tower while supporting the marshmallow at the top.

Next, introduce that we will be working with NXTs and animals this semester.  Have each group of two pick an animal.  Fill out an animal observation sheet (sketch of the animal, where the animal lives, what it eats).

Week 2 LESSON 2:  Begin Structural Animal Building.  Pass out the NXT kits to each group.  Discuss the pieces contained in the kits (briefly).  **Going over the pieces while the kits are in front of the students will be difficult (they will be distracted!)  So waiting to pass out the kits would have been a better thing to do.

This lesson is loosely based off of lesson 4 (page 25) from:  We are emphasizing structure here (not as focused on behavior).

Tell each group to base their animal off of the sketch they made last week.  Start building the animal.

Week 3 LESSON 3: Continue Building Structural Animal.  Help the groups with building their animals. Some groups will finish their animals quickly, so be ready to tell them to add additional features (or make a habitat or a “baby” animal of whatever they just created).  If you need extra guidance for how to challenge groups who are done quickly- look at lesson 6 (page 36)

At the end of class (time permitting, or else add to beginning of next lesson) have each group name different functions they want to the animal to perform.  Each group should write down these functions and save that paper for next STOMP class.  We found it helpful for them to keep all their papers (sketches, ideas etc) inside the NXT kits so they don’t lose them.

Week 4 LESSON 4:  Introduce Sensors/Motors/Programming.  Talk about each type of sensor and how they work.  Primarily focus on introducing motors and how to implement them.  In this class we brought in laptops for the class and had them follow along with us for how to do basic programs with the motors.

We assigned challenge tasks for the last 15 minutes to let the kids explore what they learned that day!

Week 5 LESSON 5: Introduce the touch sensor.  Show how to use a touch sensor to start and stop a motor.  Unfortunately due to time constraints we could introduce any other sensors (but we encouraged them to use other sensors in their animals and said we would work with them individually if they have interest).
Week 6 Lesson 6: Start Building Functional Animals!  Base the functional animal design off of lesson 8 (page 60) However, each group will be using their own models (unlike lesson 8 above) and each behavior will be specific to the animal chosen.  Have each group use at least one motor and require them to also use at least one sensor.

This week was primarily spent on the students redesigning their animals to incorporate the sensors and motors for functional use.  Only one group was ready to program during this class.  Most groups were using touch sensors to move the motors on their animals.

Week 7 Lesson 7: Continue Building Functional Animals!

By this point about 3/4 of the class was ready to program their animals.  Most groups still struggled with programming so a lot of attention was needed for each group.  We had to adapt this class to having multiple groups surround each STOMPer and have the students follow some basic programming.  This resulted in the majority of groups using a touch sensor or ultrasound sensor to move their motors.  The most variety for these programs were seen with the number of rotations the motor would go or how the motors would stop.  Unfortunately the programming creativity was limited by time!

Week 8 Lesson 8:  Make a Zoo! -Bringing together all the different projects, create a zoo in the class where everyone can share their animals and see everyone’s awesome work!

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