Make It Move Without Wheels

Design, build and program a robot that can move itself using no wheels for locomotion.



(30 minutes)


Use this video to:

  • Connect students to real-life robots that move
  • Connect students to physical science and mathematics principles: distance, speed, and other challenges for robot movement
  • Consider how robots think; how they know where they are and what they need to do
  • Inspire students to create their own robots that move
  1. Compare the way the two walking robots move. What do you notice about how they balance as they walk?

The ZI insect robot lifts one leg on one side but not on the other. The humanoid robot is maintains its balance in several ways (e.g., moving slowly, adjusting foot position, holding hands out and down to the side).

Design Brief
Design, build, and program a robot that can move itself:

  • A distance of at least 30cm
  • Use at least one motor
  • Using NO wheels for locomotion

Encourage an active brainstorming process so that students develop their conceptual understanding. For example, encourage them to:

  • Review the Robots In Action videos showing robots for inspiration
  • Build the suggested examples from Building Ideas and explore how they work
  • Personalize their robot or describe a context in which a robot that moves without wheels is useful, such as the Rex exoskeleton robot in the Medical video

Building Ideas:

Select the Best Solution
Describe the solution that you have agreed to build and program.

Think about examples from your brainstorming discussion. Then explain why you chose this solution for the design brief. Encourage students to describe why they have chosen this solution. That way, when students are reviewing and revising, they will have specific information to use to evaluate their solution and decide whether or not it was effective.

Make It Move Discussion

  1. Look at the ways that machines and robots move with and without wheels. Choose one example and trace how the movement transfers from one part to another.

This question challenges students to observe and describe how a robot physically moves.


(30 minutes)

Build and Program
Start building and programming your solution!

As you work on your solution, make sure students keep track of:

  1. Describe one part of your design that worked especially well.
  2. Describe one design change that you had to make.
  3. What will you try next?

Students can use images, video, text, sound, or weblinks to document their work.


(30 minutes)

Test and Analyze
How well does your solution satisfy the design brief?
Use a table to record data. Name the columns and rows, such as Trial Number, Distance Moved, and Observations.

Review and Revise
Take a moment to reflect on your robot solution.

  • Is the robot using something other than wheels to move? Trace the movement from the motor axle to the mechanism(s) that drives the robot forward, backwards or sideways. Wheels can be used to stabilize the robot but not to drive it.
  • Does the robot display the distance moved?
  • Is it accurate? How do you know?

Encourage students to look back at the design brief and at their own brainstorming notes and test data. Encourage a peer-review process so that 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 sharpening analysis skills and the use of objective data to support an argument.


(30 minutes)

Here are some ideas to suggest to students:

  • Create a video of your project, especially your final presentation and your robot’s performance.
  • Explain some important features of your software program.
  • Produce a building guide for your model by taking a series of photographs as you deconstruct it.
  • Include an image of your program with comments.
  • Add a team photograph

Evaluate Design and NGSS Goals
You can use the included rubrics to evaluate skills progression of Design Engineering Projects.

  • Students can review their design goals as well as their use of some NGSS practices using the provided rubric. Students can rate their level of work by adding a mark below the Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum column.
  • You may also choose to use the rubric to rate each team or student yourself.

Evaluate Creativity and Collaboration
Students can review their creative and collaboration processes using the provided rubric.

You may also choose to use the rubric to rate each team or student yourself.

Sample Solution Overview

The Walker Bot Solution is one example of many possible solutions for the Make It Move Without Wheels project.


Sample Solution Building Ideas
The Walker Bot Example Solution combines these Building Ideas: EV3 Frames, Leg 1 and a mirror-image of Leg 1 for a set of right and left legs.

Leg 1 Building Ideas shows how to change the rotary motion of a motor to reciprocating motion.


Sample Solution Program

This program:

  • Moves the motors using the Move Tank block at 60% power in reverse direction for 9 rotations
  • Displays 30 cm at coordinates (2,3) so the text is centered in the middle
  • Waits for 3 seconds so you have time to see the text

The motors are set for the reverse direction because the motors are actually mounted upside down in this model.


교사 지원

Students will:
• Understand that engineers design to satisfy a need
• Put into practice teamwork and communication skills such as listening to others and justifying decisions based on evidence
• Build their own robot that can move forward using some mechanism other than wheels
• Write a program that makes their robot move at least 30cm
• Become familiar with the importance of balance (center of mass) in a structure

LEGO® MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core Set
EV3 Software or Programming App

Students should know how to create and download a program, and how to program a motor.

Common Core Science
1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8
Core Ideas: Physical Science
Core Ideas: Engineering, Technology and Application of Science

Common Core Mathematics
1.1, 1.5

ITEEA Standards for Technological Literacy
8, 9, 10
Abilities for a Technological World
11, 13
The Designed World

ISTE National Education Technology Standards
1a, 1b, 1c, 2b, 2d, 3a, 3d, 4a, 4b, 4c, 6a, 6c, 6d

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