Posts tagged STEM
6th grade students completed an evaluation survey of our STEM experiences this year. Before we got to work, we took a look back at some memories of the year:
Students love Lego Mindstorm NXT 2.0 kits but trying to put the kits away is no easy task. We couldn’t find an inventory checklist online so created our own, adapted from http://peeron.com/inv/sets/9797-1.
6th grade STEM students took a break from their recent study of programming and robotics to look at some more practical use of technology and engineering…Star Wars!
The Pacific Science Center and Science Fiction Museum worked together to create an exhibit that looks at the science and technology behind Star Wars and connections between the film series’ science fiction and real-world robotics. Students got to design their own mag-lev trains and explored similarities between the programming in R2-D2 and a robotic vacuum cleaner.
6th grade students are continuing their study of programming and creative problem solving with Lego Mindstorms. Building on our study of robot movement last week, we were presented with 3 new challenges this week, all requiring sensors!
- Convince your robot to stay within a path outlined by masking tape against a black floor. The path weaves around the classroom. So far, students have figured out how to have their robots stop at the tape and change direction, but no solutions yet on how to the the robot to decide which way to turn.
- Create a whisper bot, a robot that will only move when it is quiet in the room. If noise reaches a certain threshold, the robot will stop until it is quiet again. As an added challenge, if the robot receives an extremely loud noice (“STOP!”) then it will cancel it’s program and remain stopped forever.
- Send your robot directly at a wall and have it stop without bumping into anything and then react using sound or movement.
STEM students returned from break and jumped back into the Mindstorm NXT programming that we began back in March. Today’s class was presented with 3 challenges:
- Make your robot climb an inclined plane and then traverse a table top, stopping within 1.5 cm of the far edge. Students were encouraged to succeed in this challenge using 3 different variables: wheel rotations, time and distance.
- Send your robot at least 10 feet away from its point of origin and then return to within a 6cm radius of the starting location.
- Program your robot to travel in a figure 8.
6th grade STEM students are spending Fridays through the end of the year learning about programming concepts and physics with Lego Robotics. We just built the Edubots in class. Arthur, Jake and Collin are all part of our afterschool club, so they are using this time to plan curriculum and robotics challenges for the rest of the class.
Lesson 1: Collin led an intro to the NXT programming environment and simple move commands. Super cool!
Students were presented with 100-year-old photos of Green Lake businesses. Each photo included its street address written in binary code. Students were tasked with decoding the numbers and then visiting each location to take a photo.
In each photo, students are standing either facing the camera or away from it, representing ones and zeros. Their body language spells out the street address in binary!
*Historic images from “Seattle’s Green Lake” by Brittany Wright.
6th graders used their recently acquired Scratch skills to build orbital paths for the Galilean moons. We took a look at a few useful tools: move, rotate, pen down, forever loops, and wait. Below is Jake’s final product and a screenshot of one moon’s code.
6th grade students found out today that our Mars outpost water levels were dangerously low. We realized that we needed to send a probe out to search for water at the base of the crater we were stationed on, but didn’t have any batteries to propel the craft. Students used their knowledge from the simple machines unit to build rovers which could minimize friction and use gravity to move over distance.
We tested our crater rovers on 3 different angled inclined planes and recorded the metric results in a table. This class reinforced previous science and math lessons of ramps, data recording, angles, the metric system and experiment design. Students were also introduced to the Lego Mindstorm kits that we’ll be using for the next month or so in conjunction with our intro to programming series in tech class.
From our Mars outpost we have a really clear view of Jupiter. 6th grade STEM students spent class today experiencing these Galilean moons.
Students built scale models of the system at a 1:5,000,000 scale. Students calculated and cut moons to scaled size and then recorded accurate relative distances (which took about 3 meters).