Design, build and program a robot that can navigate to the launch site and press the launch button to launch the Rocket and activate the Mars Outpost.
- Read through the pupil material in the EV3 Classroom App.
- Collect information about rockets and how they’re launched into outer space.
- If you feel that it’s necessary, plan a few lessons to go through the Robot Trainer unit in the app. This will help to familiarise your pupils with LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3.
- To complete this lesson, your pupils will have to have built the eight Space Challenge models, and set up the Challenge Mat.
- If you don’t have double-block class time, plan to run this lesson over multiple class sessions.
2. Engage (10 Min.)
- Use the ideas in the Ignite a Discussion section below to engage your pupils in a discussion related to this mission.
- Explain the objective, rules and achievement badges for this mission.
- Divide your class into teams.
3. Explore (25 Min.)
- Have your pupils brainstorm ideas for solving this mission.
- Encourage them to create multiple prototypes, exploring both building and programming.
- Allow the teams time to work independently on building and testing their solutions.
4. Explain (10 Min.)
- Facilitate a discussion about the key functionalities that the robot must have in order to navigate to the launch site and press the launch button.
5. Elaborate (45 Min.)
- Have each team practise lining up their robot and sending it on the mission to launch the Rocket to the Mars Outpost.
- Allow them to continue working on their robots until they’re ready for a judged attempt.
- Don’t forget to leave some time for tidying up.
- Award achievement badges based on how well each team solved the mission.
- Evaluate the creativity of each team’s solution and how well their team worked together.
- To simplify the process, you can use the assessment rubrics that have been provided.
Ignite a Discussion
The distance between Earth and Mars varies greatly. They’re closest to one another about every two years. They’re about 55 million km apart at their closest, which provides a convenient launch opportunity. A rocket going to Mars must first reach an escape velocity of over 11 km/s in order to escape the Earth’s gravity and then embark on the journey to Mars, which takes approximately 150 to 300 days.
Use these questions to engage your pupils in a discussion about how rockets are launched into outer space:
- What are space rockets?
- How are they launched?
The robot navigates to the launch site and presses the launch button. The Rocket launches and when it reaches the Mars Outpost, it activates it.
Here’s an example mission solution that completes this mission:
There are five rules that apply to all of the Space Challenge missions. Make sure that your pupils know all of them before they start:
- Your robot must always start the mission from the base area.
- Your robot must leave the base area before carrying out the mission.
- A ‘successful robot return’ occurs when any part of the robot crosses over any part of the base area line.
- You’re not allowed to touch your robot while it’s outside of the base area.
- If you touch your robot while it’s entirely outside of the base area and it’s holding an object, the object must be returned to its original position, and you must begin the mission again.
Mission Achievement Badges
There are four levels of achievement badges. Explain that each team will be awarded an achievement badge based on how well they accomplish the mission. Refer to the Assessment Opportunities section below for a description of the achievement badges for this mission.
This project is designed so that every team can have a unique solution. Use these questions to help the teams brainstorm ideas for solving this mission:
- What are some ways in which the robot could navigate to the launch site?
- Which type of motorised mechanism could be used to press the launch button?
Execute the Mission
Reset the Rocket, Launcher and Mars Outpost. Place the example solution model in starting position ‘2’ on the Challenge Mat and execute the mission. Make sure that the Launcher Module is positioned as is shown in the video.
Use the Colour Sensor in Reflected Light Intensity Mode to detect the ‘Earth’ on the Challenge Mat. For consistent results, start by calibrating the Colour Sensor using the black and white lines that are just outside of the base area.
This program is unique to the example solution model that has been described above. Due to variations in friction, battery level, lighting conditions and the condition of the LEGO® components, it’s likely that you’ll have to make adjustments to the program. Before doing this, however, try making small adjustments to the robot’s starting position in the base area.
Simplify this lesson by:
- Helping your pupils to figure out how to hit the Launcher with enough force to launch the Rocket once their robot is in position
- Having your pupils complete the Colours and Lines lesson in the Robot Trainer unit before attempting this mission
- Encouraging peer-to-peer learning and coaching
Take this lesson to the next level by:
- Limiting the time that the pupils have for solving the mission
- Challenging the pupils to use the Colour Sensor to solve this mission
- Adding design constraints by limiting the number of LEGO® elements that are available or assigning a ‘price’ to each type of LEGO element and a maximum ‘cost’ per robot
Teacher Observation Checklist
Establish a scale that suits your needs, for example:
- Partially accomplished
- Fully accomplished
Use the following success criteria to evaluate your pupils’ progress:
- The pupils have designed a robot that meets the requirements of the mission.
- The pupils came up with creative solutions and considered multiple solutions.
- The pupils worked together to complete the mission as a team.
Award an achievement badge based on how well the team solved the challenge mission.
- Bronze: The team launched the Rocket as planned but no part of it reached Mars.
- Silver: The team launched the Rocket and it reached Mars but they haven’t succeeded in activating the outpost.
- Gold: The team launched the Rocket, and the outpost has been activated.
- Platinum: The team launched the Rocket, and the outpost has been activated. They also went beyond the mission requirements by adding features to their design.
Have each pupil choose the achievement badge that they feel best represents their performance.
- Bronze: We did our best under difficult circumstances.
- Silver: We had a few accidents along the way, but we still battled on to the end of the mission.
- Gold: We’ve accomplished the mission with excellent results.
- Platinum: We’ve not only completed the mission but also added original and effective features to our design.
Language Arts Extension
To incorporate the development of language arts skills, have your pupils:
- Create a presentation or a video that highlights their robot’s features and performance
- Create a presentation explaining the most important features of their program
Note: This will require additional time.
The pupils who enjoyed this lesson might be interested in exploring these career pathways:
- Information Technology (Computer Programming)
- Manufacturing and Engineering (Pre-Engineering)
- Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (Science and Maths)