Name of Unit Intro to NXTs
Author(s) Jake Hellman Laura Fradin
School Josiah Quincy Elementary School
Teacher Ms. Aguayo
Brief Description Beginning with the definition of engineering and building challenges, this unit introduces the software and NXT brick to the students, and after a few simple challenges, culminates with a final NXT project.
Grade(s) 5th
Keywords NXT robot robotics JQS josiah quincy elementary lego programming aguayo 5th 5 fall 2013 13 fighting robots robot final project on brick on-brick mindstorms mind storms battlebots battle bots fight
Number of Weeks 10
Week 1 Intro to Engineering and Spaghetti Towers.  The engineering design process was introduced and the job of an engineer was explained.  Afterwards, half of the class was devoted to the Spaghetti Towers activity which introduced the students to building and working as a team.
Week 2 A Chair for Mr. Bear.  This activity is used as in introduction to the NXT pieces (which differ from regular lego pieces).  The chairs are therefore built from NXT pieces and we encouraged the students to incorporate the NXT brick.
Week 3 The Human Robot.  The activity we performed is similar to the one linked above, but not exactly the same.  We wanted to students to direct the ”robot” to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (if there are allergies, peanut butter and fluff could easily be substituted).   The robot has access to a loaf of bread, jars of peanut butter and jelly, and a knife.  We went around the class in a circle and each student got to give one direction until the sandwich was completed.  If the student said ”put the peanut butter on the bread” then the jar of peanut butter was simply placed on top of the loaf of bread.  This way, the students learned how to think like a robot must.  This provides a great introduction to programming.
Week 4 Silly Walks (On-brick programming).  This activity was used as an introduction to programming with the NXT.  Most of them had never programmed before, but after The Human robot activity, understood what to do.  We spent some time explaining the on-brick interface of the NXT which is fairly simple and the gave the class the rest of the time to practice building and programming with the bricks.
Week 5 Say Hello! (Day 1).  Next, we wanted the students to understand the use of sensors.  Therefore, we designed the “Say Hello!” activity in which the goal was to have the students build a robot capable of “interacting” with the outside world (and in this was “say hello”).  In order to interact with the outside world, the students had to understand the use of sensors and how they interfaced with their robots.  They also had to be introduced to Mindstorms so that they could create programs more complicated than those they had created the week before on the brick.  A Mindstorms introduction was therefore also completed during this class.  The Mindstorms introduction took some time, and this project therefore continued into the following week.
Week 6 Say Hello! (Day 2).  Because of the programming and building required for this activity, the students were given another week to finish up their robots.  We then let them present to the class.
Week 7 BattleBots (Day 1).  As a culmination, we decided to do a final project which would build on all of the NXT knowledge we had practiced.  We introduced the BattleBots activity by showing some example videos and by explaining the rules of the challenge.  We had the teacher pick groups for the students ahead of time so that there would be no issues.  We forced the students to plan for some time in their groups before handing out the legos.  This entire class was devoted to building.  We encouraged the students to use sensors in their design because doing so would help them defeat other robots.
Week 8 BattleBots (Day 2).  This week we let the students continue building their robots.  As they became ready to program we gave them computers.  At the end of the class, we saved all of their programs to a flash drive for the following week.
Week 9 BattleBots (Day 3).  Again, we continued working on the BattleBots final project.  At this point, we encouraged the students to begin programming if they had not done so yet.  The projects had to be completed by the end of this week.
Week 10 BattleBots (Day 4).  There was no building done this week.  We explained the rules, set up an arena and a bracket, and let the fights take place for the entire class.

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