Lessons and Units

Drexel RET Summer 08 
 Ari Ford
Plan Title – Biologically Inspired Robotics
Define Learners – This Unit is designed for 8th grade students at Woodbury Junior-Senior High School. The students from Woodbury are a heterogeneous group of suburban students. Lesson groupings during the unit vary on a continuum between individuals, group and whole class. 
StandardsNew Jersey State Technology Standards
·8.1.12.9 - Create and manipulate information, independently and/or collaboratively, to solve problems and design and develop products.
·8.2.12.3 - Develop methods for creating possible solutions, modeling and testing solutions, and modifying proposed design in the solution of a technological problem using hands-on activities.
·8.2.12.6 - Create a technological product, system, or environment using given design specifications and constraints by applying design and engineering principles.
Topic – Students will use LEGO Mindstorms, NXT robots or K’Nex to design, build and program a robot that models the movements of a biological system (i.e. a fin, arm, leg, neck joint, ect.)
Curriculum Links – The units students studied prior to this unit are basic robot construction and programming. The main concepts students acquired from the units were how to construct robots and incorporate time, motor speed and sensors into basic programs. For example students will explore the Solar System and planet surfaces using both independent and dependent variables
                             The unit that will follow this is a Sumo-Bot unit. Students will compete to design, construct and program a robot to push an opponent out of the ring. Students will be given size weight and part constraints.
Objectives –
1.The students will be able to describe biological systems and biologically inspired robotics
2.The students will be able to design, construct and program a biologically inspired robot
3.The students will be able to summarize and analyze the design, construction and programming process.
Materials –
-LEGO Minstorms
-NXT LEGO Robots
      - K’Nex
-RoboLab software
-Mindstorms NXT Education software
-Lego Digital Designer software
Procedures -
A.Introduction:Big Ideas – Recognize a biological system and biologically inspired robotics
                                                                                                 i.Students will view RET Fellowship biologically inspired robot movies
                                                                                               ii.Students will be broken into groups of 4
                                                                                              iii.Students will investigate other biological systems and biologically inspired robotics
                                                                                             iv.Students will choose a biological system to represent robotically
                                                                                              v.Students will record daily progress in their Engineering Notebook
B.Implementation :Big Idea – Design, Construct and Program a robot
                                                                                                 i.Students will design a biologically inspired robot
1.Students will be encouraged to use Lego Digital Designer
                                                                                               ii.Students will construct a biologically inspired robot
                                                                                              iii.Students will program a biologically inspired robot
1.Students will be encouraged to use Lego NXT software
                                                                                             iv.Students will record daily progress in their Engineering Notebook
C.Conclusion:Big Ideas –Summarize the design, construction and programming procedure
                                                                                                 i.Students will review their Engineering Notebook
                                                                                               ii.Students will summarize their procedure
                                                                                              iii.Students will identify their successes and failures in the process
Time - The time anticipated for students to fulfill the objectives of this unit is 8 days. Each class period is a block of time 89 minutes in duration.
1.Introduction - 1 day
2.Implementation - 6 days
   2 days of research and design
   2 days of robot construction
   2 days of programming
3.Conclusion – 1day
Supplementary Materials –
· Videos of Biological Systems
· Videos of Biologically Inspired Robots
Assessment of Students – Students will be assessed on their Engineering Notebook, robot performance and unit summary.
Evaluation – The most important concept from this unit for students to demonstrate mastery is describing the procedure followed for designing, constructing and programming a biologically inspired robot. The lesson will be deemed successful if all students adequately describe a solid knowledge of this procedure and reflect upon it, pointing out both successes and failures.
American Museum of Natural History, The Solar System 08
Ari Ford
Plan Title – Exploring the Solar System
Define Learners – This unit is designed for 8th grade middle school students at Woodbury Junior-Senior High School. The students from Woodbury are a heterogeneous group of suburban students. Lesson groupings during the unit vary on a continuum between individuals, pairs and whole class. 
Standards – New Jersey State Science & Technology Standards (Grade 8)
STANDARD 5.9 (Astronomy & Space Science) All students will gain an understanding of the origin, evolution, and structure of the universe
B. Solar System
1.Describe the physical characteristics of the planets and other objects within the solar system and compare Earth to the rest of the planets.
STANDARD 8.1 (Computer and information literacy) All students will use computer applications to gather and organize information and to solve problems.
B. Application of Productivity Tools
8.    Use computer applications to modify information independently and/or collaboratively to solve problems.
9.Identify basic hardware problems and demonstrate the ability to solve common problems.
Topic – Students will use LEGO mindstorms and NXT robots to explore the Solar System by first researching four topics (The Sun, The inner Solar System, The Jovian planets and Kuiper belt objects) and then participating in robotic challenges.
Curriculum Links – The units students studied prior to this unit are basic robotic programming. The main concepts students acquired from the programming unit were how to incorporate time, motor speed and sensors into basic programs. For example students would program their robots to navigate a cave on Mars using and ultrasonic sensor or clear the Moon base of rocks using time and speed as dependent variables.
                             The unit that will follow this Exploring the Solar System unit is a unit on manned space exploration. Students will research manned flight using NASA Explorer school materials and will use robots to simulate the Apollo Missions and a future mission to Mars.
Objectives –
The Sun
1.Students will be given time to research the different spheres of the sun.
2.As a class we will decide what light sensor values would be good to represent each sphere and review how to use the sensors
3.At the conclusion of the challenge we will summarize what we learned and what we could have done differently while exploring with our robots.
The terrestrial planets
1.Students will research the moons of the inner solar system.
2.Students will research comets and near-earth Asteroids.
3.Students will review how to use the ultrasonic sensors.
4.At the conclusion of the challenge we will summarize what we learned and what we could have done differently while exploring with our robots.
The Jovian Planets
1.Students will research the rings and major moons of the Jovian Planets.
2.Students will review how to use the touch sensors.
3.At the conclusion of the challenge we will summarize what we learned and what we could have done differently while exploring with our robots.
Kuiper belt Objects
1.Students will research the Kuipler belt objects and dwarf planets.
2.Students will write their own definition of a planet and categorize the bodies in our solar system.
3.Students will review using time a programming variable as apposed to sensors.
4.At the conclusion of the challenge we will summarize what we learned and what we could have done differently while exploring with our robots.
Materials –
-LEGO Minstorms
-NXT LEGO robots
-LEGO Mars map and playfield
-RoboLab software
-Mindstorms NXT Edu software
-LEGO balls and pieces to represent Solar System Bodies
-Construction paper
-Yellow paint (different shades to represent different spheres of the sun)
-NASA Explorer School documents and materials
Time - The time anticipated for students to fulfill the objectives of this unit is 30days. Each class period is a block of time 89 minutes in duration.
1.Introduction - 3 days
2.The Sun - 6 days
2 days of research
   3 days on the robotic challenge
   1 day of wrap up
3.The terrestrial planets - 6 days
   2 days of research
   3 days on the robotic challenge
   1 day of wrap up
4.The Jovian planets – 6 days
   2 days of research
   3 days on the robotic challenge
   1 day of wrap up
5.Kuiper belt Objects – 6 days
2 days of research
   3 days on the robotic challenge
   1 day of wrap up
6.Conclusion – 3 days
Scope and Sequence –
A.Introduction:Big Ideas – Recognize the vastness of our solar system and identify existing or future unmanned planetary explorers.
                                                                                                 i.Students will complete a solar system scale project online to introduce our unit. (http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/education/fun-stuff#scale )
                                                                                               ii.Students will research robotic/remote planetary explorers on NASA’s website and complete a NASA Explorer School activity. (http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/prop_missions.html  &  http://www.nasa.gov/missions/index.html )
B.The Sun:Big Idea –Identify and compare the different spheres of the Sun.
                                                                                                i.Students will research the spheres of the sun on NASA’s web site. (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/solar-b/solar_020.html )
                                                                                               ii.Students will use light sensors on there robots to get readings from the different spheres of the Sun.
C.The terrestrial planets:Big Ideas – Recognize the different bodies of the inner solar system and recognize the relative congestion in this area of the solar system.
                                                                                                 i.Students will research the terrestrial planets through NASA’s web site. (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/planetary-science/exploring-the-inner-solar-system )
                                                                                               ii.Students will use ultrasonic sensor to navigate the inner solar system.
a.Students must be aware of not only the planets but moons, comets and asteroids.
b.To continue our exploration of the solar system student will need to reach and circumnavigate the Asteroid Belt.
D.The Jovian Planets:Big Ideas – Recognize the different features of Jovian planets and compare them to terrestrial planets.
                                                                                                i.Students will research the Jovian planets NASA’s web site. (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/index.cfm )
                                                                                               ii.Students will use touch sensors to explore the Jovian planets, their moons and their rings.
                                                                                              iii.Students must make a predetermined number of stops in the Jovian system on planets, rings and moons.
E.Kuiper belt objects:Big Ideas – Define a planet and Dwarf Planet and recognize the relative congestion in this area of the solar system.
                                                                                                 i.Students will research the Kuiper belt on NASA’s web site (http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast13sep_1.htm )
                                                                                               ii.Students will write their own definition of a planet and categorize the bodies in our solar system.
                                                                                              iii.Students will preprogram robots using time, as apposed to any sensors, to navigate the Kuiper belt and find where they believe Pluto, Cheron and Eris should be.
                                                                                              iv.Once the students have decided where they would like to place each dwarf planet their robot must leave behind a ball to represent that body.
F.Conclusion:Big Ideas –Compare and contrast robotic and manned exploration and a variety of solar system bodies.
                                                                                               i.Students will complete a NASA explorer School Activity on manned spaceflight. (http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/inforcenter/history/history.html )
                                                                                              ii.Students will debate robotic vs. manned exploration.
                                                                                             iii.Students will summarize what we have learned about the planets and other bodies from our robotic missions.
                                                                                             iv.Students will compare and contrast a variety of solar system bodies.
Supplementary Materials –
· NASA websites (listed above)
· NASA Explorer School Activities (http://www.nasaexplorers.com/ )
Assessment of Students – Each topic has multiple formative assessments. Each research activity will be collected and graded. Another assessment occurs through teacher-student interactions while students are programming their robot to complete the challenge. Also the completion of the challenge is an assessment. For each challenge multiple points will be available on the map for students to earn. The unit concludes with debate of manned versus robotic missions and a summary of the robotics unit submitted at the end of the 30 days.
Evaluation – The most important concept from this unit for students to demonstrate mastery is describing the physical characteristics of the planets and other objects within the solar system. The unit will be judged successful if all students successfully compare and contrast solar system bodies in there unit summary.

  

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