Design, build, and program a robotic system that follows a path and communicates its position at least twice along the way.
Engage (30 Min.)
Explore (30 Min.)
Explain (60 Min.)
Elaborate (60 Min.)
Rovers developed for any scientific mission have a common functionality. They are all able to collect some kind of information and send it back to a scientific base. Various communication systems have been invented over the years to suit different constraints and needs.
Encourage an active brainstorming process.
Ask your students to think about these questions:
- What is a robotic explorer and where are they used?
- What kind of motorized mechanism can be used to control a robot's movements?
- How can a robot collect data along a path?
- How can a robot communicate with a scientific base?
Encourage your students to document their initial ideas and explain why they picked the solution they will use for their first prototype. Ask them to describe how they will evaluate their ideas throughout the project. That way, when they are reviewing and revising, they will have specific information they can use to evaluate their solution and decide whether or not it was effective.
To incorporate language arts skills development, have your students:
- Use their written work, sketches, and/or photos to summarize their design process and create a final report.
- Create a video demonstrating their design process starting with their initial ideas and ending with their completed project.
- Create a presentation about their program.
- Create a presentation that connects their project with real-world applications of similar systems and describes new inventions that could be made based on what they have created.
Give your students an opportunity to build some examples from the links below. Encourage them to explore how these systems work and to brainstorm how these systems could inspire a solution to the design brief.
Teacher Observation Checklist
Create a scale that matches your needs, for example:
- Partially accomplished
- Fully accomplished
Use the following success criteria to evaluate your students' progress:
- Students can identify the key elements of a problem.
- Students are autonomous in developing a working and creative solution.
- Students can clearly communicate their ideas.
Once your students have collected some performance data, give them time to reflect on their solutions. Help them by asking questions, like:
- Is your solution meeting the Design Brief criteria?
- Can your robot’s movement(s) be made more accurate?
- What are some ways that others have solved this problem?
Ask your students to brainstorm and document two ways they could improve their solutions.
Encourage a peer review process in which each group is responsible for evaluating their own and others’ projects. This review process can help students develop skills in giving constructive feedback as well as sharpen their analysis skills and ability to use objective data to support an argument.
Students who enjoyed this lesson might be interested in exploring these careers pathways:
- Business and Finance (Entrepreneurship)
- Manufacturing and Engineering (Pre-Engineering)
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