Lesson Building Block Template

Karen Smolinski, Holy Name

Grades 3-8   

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

Problem Solving, Velocity, Math Computation, Spatial Relationships, Technology Tool Application

II. Standards


4.6  Science and Technology An understanding of science and technology establishes connections between the natural and designed world, by linking science with technology.

8.2      Science as Inquiry  Science as inquiry requires students to combine processes and scientific knowledge with scientific reasoning and critical thinking to develop their understanding of science.


M 4.2     Computation/Estimation

M 4.3    Measurement

M 4.5     Data Analysis, Probability, And Statistical Concepts

M 4.6     Algebraic Concepts

M 8.2    Computation/Estimation

M 8.3    Measurement

M 8.4.3  By the end of eighth grade, students will understand and apply the formulas to solve problems involving perimeter and area of a square, rectangle, parallelogram, trapezoid and triangle and area and circumference of circles.   

M 8.5  Data Analysis, Probability and Statistical Concepts   

Social Studies:  (California)

4.1.1Explain and use the coordinate grid system of latitude and longitude to determine the absolute locations of places in California and on Earth.

Technology: Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems. (5, 6)

III. Learning Activity              Moving TekBot


            Students will use Tekbots to travel and create shapes. 

            3rd grade:  will guide the Tekbot through squares. Estimate and calculate perimeter of the square. Probably in Spring 07 as introduction for 4th grade

4th & 5th:  How big of a square can the Tekbot make in 60 seconds?  Compute average velocity on straight away and turning corner.  (Lay a tape measure on the floor.  Using the stop watch, have the Tekbot move along the tape measure for 5 seconds.  This will give the students an idea of how far the Tekbot can move in 5 seconds.)  60 sec= 3x + 4y (x time it takes to turn corner).  Solve for y (time available for each side.) y*average velocity per second = length of each side.  Test calculations and discuss variables and how they affected the outcome.

            6th-8th:  After completing exercise above, attach GPS system.  Set GPS system to calculate area.  Calculate area covered in 60 seconds.  Run Tekbot with GPS to test calculations.

IV.  Teacher and Student Suggestions/Tips

            Pre-teaching:  Use nlvm.usu.edu, Virtual Library, 3-5 geometry, Turtle Geometry to familiarize students with necessary movements to complete a square.

            Allow students some time to practice with Tekbots before lesson begins

Have the students practice using the Tekbots to perform different functions. 

                        Forward, Reverse, Left and Right turns

            Move the Tekbot to outline different shapes (Circle, triangle, equilateral triangle, rectangle, square)

Have the students count as the Tekbot moves to assist with judging equal distances for sides of shapes

            Introduce students to stop watches and their functions.  Have them practice starting, stopping and clearing the timer.

            Have the students practice using the retractable tape measures.  Make sure they know how to lock the tape measure and how to safely retract the tape measure so it doesn't fly in the air and hit other students.

            Use estimation and perform calculations in classroom.

            Provide clipboards and sheets to record results.

V. Teacher questions:

            If you double the time will the size of the shape double?   (Make prediction and test)

            If we switched from the concrete parking lot to the grass field, what would change?

            What variables affected the outcome?  How could you overcome them?

VI. Assessment Ideas

            Use other shapes and time constraints to check understanding of Tekbot. 

            Use the record sheets and have each group write up a summary of the results with relationship to velocity and resistance. 

            Graph results and write a analysis of the results

VII.  Other Information/Variations:

            Try other shapes

            Build corners/ mazes to run Tekbots w/o remotes

            Try on concrete and grass to judge effects of resistance

            Try with weights or pulling objects with Tekbots to compare changes in velocity

            Have students calculate speed in mph.  Use GPS systems to check calculations. 

            Have one team plot the outline of a shape using GPS coordinates.  The 2nd team follows coordinates to define the shape.

            Materials needed:  clipboards and pencils, stop watches, retractable tape measures, objects of different weights to attach to Tekbots, objects to pull with Tekbots of different sizes and weights,  materials to create corners or mazes (wood planks, heavy cardboard, etc.,) GPS systems.


http://www.powersimtech.com/download.html  Free Windows software demo that simulates circuits.  Similar to software used in lab at PKI.  Lessons designed for Lego Robotics that can be adapted. Includes K-3 engineering lessons.

TV Program:  Building the Ultimate  Discovery Science Channel   Discusses engineering "marvels" (Big Dig, Eurotunnel)