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Name of Activity LEGO House
Author Emily Taintor
Keywords LEGO, house, building, town, electricity, circuit, light, bulb, constraints, construction, squishy circuits
Subject Non-LEGO, LEGO Building
Grade Level 3, 4, 5
Time 3 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will build LEGO houses that are lit by LED bulbs to certain design constraints.
Lesson Objectives: – Introduce students to LEGO building under design constraints
– Familiarize students with the process of planning and implementing a circuit
Materials Needed: – LEGO Bricks
– LED Bulbs
– Wires (or playdough)
– House bases (for the design constraint)
– Batteries
– Alligator clips
Preparation and Set Up: – Give each group a base, bricks, an LED bulb, and wire (or playdough)
– Explain design constraints
Necessary Background Basic electricity information, LEGO familiarity
  1. Distribute materials
  2. Explain design constraints
  3. Students should begin by constructing a LEGO House to whatever design constraints the instructors decide upon. Our class had size and height constraints (had to fit on the small base, had to be big enough for a LEGO man to live in) but they could be any sort of design constraint, service learning-related or otherwise. During the building process the students should be considering how they want to wire the house so that an LED bulb can light the inside of the house from a battery on the outside of the house.
  4. Once the house has been constructed, have the students plan out the circuit that they want to use to light the house. We had the students use just one LED bulb so the circuits were very basic.
  5. Students should wire the house so that the LED bulb lights the inside of the house from a battery on the outside. We used playdough instead of wires to create the circuit to build off of the squishy circuits activity, so they had a lot of flexibility on implementing the actual circuit.
  6. Students should assemble their houses in one big “town” and present their houses to the rest of the class. Students should be able to explain their circuit to the class, as well.
Extensions: – Make the house more realistic (make the light connect to the ceiling or look like a lamp)
– Give more specific design constraints
– Use more than one bulb per house – would create better diversity of solutions
– Have groups of students create ‘neighborhoods’ so that they have to combine their circuits to connect to one communal energy source
Name of Activity Build a Mini City
Author STOMP
Keywords city, sturdy structures, intro to types of engineering, boat, bridge, tower, earthquake, tornado, traffic system, non-lego
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7
Time 3 Hours Total
Brief Description Using a variety of materials provided and unlimited tape, the students were asked to create a “mini city” that contained 3 of 4 options. The 4 options were making a tall (2 feet) structure that is earthquake and tornado proof, a boat that can hold 20 pennies, a bridge that is at least 1 foot long to connect to another city and wide enough to allow a lego car to travel between the cities, and a traffic system.
Lesson Objectives: -Further encourage the use of the engineering design process.
-Encourage group collaboration.
-Allow the students to use and extend on the knowledge they gained throughout the introduction to types of engineering unit.
Materials Needed: cardboard, construction paper, aluminum foil, tape, popsicle sticks, lego wheels and pieces, pipe cleaners, plastic box filled with water, markers, pennies, fan
Preparation and Set Up: -Collect and separate all materials, so that each group has the same amount.
-Print out enough worksheets for the class.
-Fill plastic box with water.
-Precut pieces of tape for each group to start with.
-Discuss the challenge and possible ideas for ways to work in a group.
-Pass out worksheets and materials.
Procedure 1. Introduce the challenge. Discuss the exact details of each of the parts of the city and be sure to emphasize that they should make sure to complete at least 3 of the challenges. Also, discuss the timeline of work. We provided the students with 3 class periods, but that included the introduction and sharing their cities at the end. 2. Hand out worksheets. 3. Have students outline their ideas and make one plan as a group for their city including marking which materials will be used for what and how they will get the work done. 4. Hand out materials. 5. Encourage testing and redesigning. 6. Once ready, have each group describe their city to the class and test for earthquake and tornado proof structures (if applicable). 7. Discuss the challenges and successes of the students and their structures.
Extensions: -Limit the amount of tape.
-Provide different or fewer materials.
-Require the tower to be taller, the bridge to be longer, etc.
-Add another requirement.
Online Reference(s);;;
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Types of Engineering

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