Design a sound machine and explore programming variables that make soft sounds, loud sounds, environmental sounds, rhythms, and melodies.
After completing this lesson, students will have:
Defined a clear design need
Developed their ability to iterate and improve design solutions
Developed their problem-solving and communication skills
Used and understood the design process
Use craft materials that you already have in your classroom to add another dimension to this lesson. Some materials could be:
Small musical instruments (e.g., xylophone, tambourine, jingle bells, cymbals, drums, maracas, rainstick)
Plastic or paper cups
Keys, or other metal objects
Recycled materials and objects from nature
Science and Engineering Practices
3-5-ETS1.1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 3-5-ETS1-3
Disciplinary Core Ideas
ETS1.B, (3-5-ETS1-2), (3-5-ETS1-3)
Common Core State Standards
RI.5.1, RI.5.7, W.5.8
This is a highly-engaging Maker lesson that will create some joyful noise! Have students explore programming variables that make soft sounds, loud sounds, environmental sounds, rhythms, and melodies. Students can even combine projects to make a band.
Ensure that each student has a copy of the Student Worksheet for recording their design process. They will also need the LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 Core Set (one set for every two students is recommended).
Hand out the Student Worksheets and allow the students to interpret the lesson themselves, or read the Maker Connect text aloud to set the scene.
As students look at the “connect” images and questions, facilitate a discussion to steer them toward a problem or new design opportunity. Once they have decided upon a problem to solve, ensure that they record this in some way. They can use the worksheet to help structure their project documentation or use their own preferred method to record their design journey.
Students should initially work independently or in pairs, spending a few minutes to generate as many ideas as they can to solve the problem. They can use the bricks from the LEGO® set during the brainstorming process, or sketch out their ideas in the space provided on the worksheet.
It is important for students to spend time tinkering with the LEGO® bricks in order to generate ideas. The goal of tinkering is to explore as many solutions as possible. You can use the tinkering examples at the end of these materials for inspiration, or as a means for getting started.
Students can now take turns sharing their ideas within their groups. Once all of the ideas have been shared, each group should select the best idea(s) to make. Be prepared to help facilitate this process, ensuring that the students choose an idea that is possible to make. Encourage diversity, not all groups have to make the same thing.
Students should record up to three design criteria on their worksheets. They will refer to this again as they review and revise their solutions.
Let the students carry out one of their group’s ideas using WeDo 2.0 and other materials as needed. Reinforce that students do not have to come up with the whole solution from the start.
During the making process, remind students to test and analyze their idea as they go, making improvements where necessary. If you want students to submit their documentation at the end of the lesson, ensure that they use sketches and photos of their models to record their design journey during the making stage of the lesson.
Some students may need a little inspiration and scaffolding to help them get started.
Students can explore the Model Library to find inspiration for the different types of sound machines they can make. By asking questions (e.g., Do you want to make a sound machine that taps a beat or shakes an object?), you can help lead the students to relevant models based on their ideas. Students can remix their models by adding or removing LEGO® elements and other objects.
Combining the WeDo 2.0 Smarthub with a sensor, the sound library makes a simple introductory sound machine with many possibilities. Students can also record and play a custom sound or melody.
Sample model 1
Remixed from #3. Crank
Sample program 1
Sample model 2
Remixed from #5. Spin
Sample program 2
Students will test and evaluate their designs against the design criteria they recorded before they started making their solutions. They can record notes on their Student Worksheets.
Allow time for each student or student group to present what they have made to the class. A good way to do this is to set out a table large enough to display all of the models. If time is short, pair off the groups and have them present to each other.
Students will use the Student Worksheet assessment rubric to evaluate their design work according to the ‘Four Bricks Scale’.
Ensure that you leave approximately 10-15 minutes at the end of the lesson to break down the models and sort them back into the LEGO® boxes.
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