
The SPIRIT Project
Educational Robotics
Lesson Building Block
Template
Author: ____Peggy Madsen_____________
Grade Level: __8_ Date: __July 20, 2006_ 
Directions: Definition of a Lesson Building
Block: This is a "Lesson Building
Block" from the SPIRIT educational robotics institute. A 'lesson building block' is in essence
an educational activity that might be later turned into a more formal classroom
lesson by a creative teacher. The
SPIRIT Institute is striving to put a variety of "lesson building blocks" up on
the web for the potential use of teachers as they try to prepare more formal
educational lessons using the TekBot robotics platform.
I. Concepts (Give a list of one or more concepts that might
be taught using this activity)
Graphing
Coordinates on Coordinate Plane
II. Standards
(Give a list of one or two local, state or national standards that
appear to apply)
OPS
Math 8/PreAlgebra Standard #4 Graph Coordinates and Linear Equations on a Coordinate Plane
III. Learning Activity Context (Describe
the overall context for the learning activity)
Context: X__ Moving TekBot __ Building a TekBot _X_ Engineering / Notebook __ Other
Abstract: (Give a
1 paragraph abstract of the activity)
Students will use a completed Tekbot to fulfill the
requirements of this lesson. The
Tekbot will run up several types of ramps at maximum speed. Time and distance covered will be
documented and analyzed. Once the
trials have been completed, the data results will be graphed on a coordinate
plane.
IV. Teacher
and Student Suggestions/Tips
(Provide some general tips or suggestions for trying the activity)
Ramps will be covered with "artificial grass" type carpet,
indoor/outdoor carpet and one will be left plain wood. Wheels on TekBot can also be modified
to produce additional results for graphing. Modifications to wheels can include covering the wheel with
a strip of plastic wrap to lessen friction, a stair tread strip or strip of
sand paper to increase friction, rubber bands to increase traction or a long
balloon fastened around the wheel to more closely resemble a rubber tire. Using the formula rate X time =
distance (r*t = d) is an excellent way for students to begin learning
how to graph a one variable equation as well. This exercise is introductory to graphing, however and the
equation exercise could be used as an entirely separate lesson, if desired.
If students have not already built a Tekbot of their own to
use, one will be provided for the testing.
V. Teacher
Questions
(Give a list of questions that
teachers might ask students during the activity)
 What
happens when you change the angle of the ramps?
 What
difference did the surface of the ramp make?
 What
happened when you modified the wheels?
 How
might this type of information be used when engineers design new
automobiles or new tires?
 If you
were to design an automobile today, what would this information do for you
in the decision making process?
 Is
there a correlation between ramp surface and speed? What about wheel modifications and
ramp surface variations and speed?
 Did
all of the variations allow the Tekbot to complete each run? Why or Why not? Give some theories as to the how
and why the results are so varied.
 Could
we have negative values on our graphs and in the resulting data? Explain why or why not.
 What
if we changed the angle of the ramp (other than those we tested), could we
make a prediction as to what would happen and provide adequate data
to support this assumption?
 Did your data produce a straight
line on your graph or what type of line resulted from the graphed data?
 Are
the results what you predicted? If not, speculate why the results were different. If the results were as predicted,
write the justification for your predictions and correlate this
justification with your results.
VI. Assessment Ideas
(Give an idea or two about how the lesson activity might be assessed)
Rubric grading recommended. Could be assessed by evaluating each graph to insure that the
testing was complete and results documented accurately. Graphs with prominent variances should
be analyzed to determine the cause(s) of these variances.
VII. Other
Information
(Give any other information that might be useful or a visual or two)
Ramps should be at least 2 feet long, preferably 3
feet. Mark off 1 foot toward the
middle of the ramp to provide a constant in the equation r X t = d. This will also enable students to fill
in the time factor and solve for the rate.
Materials:
Completed
Tekbot
3
Ramps with varying surfaces
Stopwatch/timer
Rubber
bands
Balloons
Plastic
Wrap
Sand
paper/Stair tread
Pencil/Pen
Notebook
Data
Documentation Sheet
Rubric
(If using for assessments)
Graph
paper
Ruler
Data Documentation
Angle (each number represents 10 degree increments)

