The Red Cross building is located in New England, which is known for its extreme winters. The building is snowed in with no way of escape, there is a disaster that has just occurred, and we must get the building ready to provide help. Students, your mission, should you choose to accept, will be to create a vehicle which will be able to move up to a three pound snow bank, drag a five pound supply crate, maneuver through an obstacle course, lift a boulder and place it in a receptacle, and race a straight way to save a victim. If you choose not to accept, the Red Cross will be at risk of failure, along with your grade. Here are the constraints:
Construct and program a robot that will complete the tasks previously stated. These tasks will be demonstrated in one class period (87 minutes) on a single battery charge. Each task completed will earn points. Points will vary depending on how difficult the task is. Each task will also be timed; time will be a factor for specific tasks, such as racing the straight way to save the victim or to decide on ties. Your grade will be based on the completion of this task. Good luck, and may the odds be forever in your favor!
The first class period will be used to brainstorm ideas for the construction of the robot; the next two class periods will be used to design/build the robot. The fourth class period will be used to test the robots.
Class Period 1: Students will be given a word sheet with a list of the principles and key concepts from above. They will have five minutes to define them in their own words. After, a class review will take place in which the students volunteer to share their definitions with the class. The teacher records the information on the board, and when necessary, adds to or alters the definition to make it correct. Students are adding to and correcting their own definitions when necessary.
The teacher will then give direct instruction around design, sustainability, energy and efficiency, and will review recycling versus repurposing. Students will take notes in their class notebooks, so they can refer to this information while brainstorming and building their robot with their partner. It is important for students to understand that by simply altering the design an object can become more energy efficient. When gearing their robot, a student can allow their robot to travel farther if the gear ratio is thought out before building it, and also if the robot is designed for the task it will perform. When constructing the framing, students can use engineering principles to still have a strong frame but with less material, making it more sustainable. Students need to understand that when a product can last longer and use less energy in the process that is being green/sustainable. They need to incorporate this idea into their own robot design. Students need to think about what a product will be used for and what its cradle to grave or cradle to cradle life expectancy is, especially when creating a greener and more sustainable robot for this mission; for example, students need to think about how their robot could be repurposed or recycled after this mission is complete. This lesson will also help students understand how to make greener and more sustainable decisions in their own lives.
Students will pick a partner to work with. They will be given the briefing along with the constraints of the Power vs. Efficiency assignment. The class will go through the briefing and constraints together. Questions and clarifications will be made during this time.
After the briefing, the students will begin to brainstorm their design ideas using principles and key concepts from the opening and explain how they will be applied to their robot using graphic organizers of their choice. They will also research design ideas and strategies for the remainder of the class period. During the last five minutes of class, students write two to three sentences briefly explaining their robot design and why it will work. They will also be encouraged to write any questions they have about this assignment.
Class Period 2: Students will receive their exit ticket from the previous class. They will be given five to ten minutes to alter their design based on the teacher feedback; they can also ask the teacher one-on-one questions about their design at this time.
After the questions are answered, students will begin to construct their robots. They will work on this with their partner for the remainder of the class period. The teacher will be circulating the room during this time to answer questions the groups may have and offer assistance when necessary.
In the last five minutes of class, students will work with their partner to evaluate their progress from today's class by answering the following question: In two to three sentences, explain why you believe your robot will be successful for each specific task: (1) moving up to a three pound snow bank, (2) dragging a five pound supply crate, (3) maneuvering through an obstacle course, (4) lifting a boulder and placing it in a receptacle, and (5) racing a straight way to save a victim. Is your group sacrificing power from one task to be more efficient at another task? Use evidence to support your thinking when answering each question. Students will also make a to-do list of things they need to complete during the next class.
Class Period 3: Partners will receive their exit tickets from the previous class. They will be given five to ten minutes to review the to-do list they created for themselves and re-evaluate their robot based on teacher feedback. Students will also be able to ask one-on-one questions at this time. The remainder of the class period will be used to complete the construction of their robot. Again, the teacher will circulate the room to answer one-on-one questions and offer assistance when necessary.
In the last five minutes of class, students will work with their partners to evaluate their robot and answer the following questions: Based on your group's design, what are the strengths and weaknesses of your robot? Did you feel you lost power while trying to be more efficient for any of the tasks? What is your prediction for your robot during the competition? Use evidence to support your thinking when answering each question. Batteries should be placed in chargers before leaving.
Class Period 4: Students will be given their exit tickets with teacher feedback. Students will be given 15 minutes to meet in their groups to get batteries and make last minute repairs or assembles based on teacher feedback. During this time, the teacher will be available to answer any last minute one-on-one questions before the competition begins.
The teacher will hand out slips of paper with a number on it to each group. This will tell the students which obstacle to start at. In order for the obstacle course to be completed in the most efficient time, groups will all start at different stations and move through in a clockwise fashion. This will allow most, if not all, of the groups to be working throughout the entire class period. Students will run through the obstacle course and record their own progress and points.
Once all the groups complete each obstacle station, approximately thirty minutes, a class discussion will take place to reflect on the assignment. It is important that the instructor emphasize that just because a group had difficulty, or was unable to complete a task, does not mean students failed; the teacher should encourage students to recognize what could have been done to make the robot more successful if they were to complete this task again. The teacher will ask groups to think about and discuss their results with the class. Did these results match the predictions made last class? Did the efficient design hinder your group's success? While the class discussion is taking place, students will also write down their own answers to the questions asked.
In the last twenty-five minute of class, students will write a short open response to the following questions: What did you learn about sustainable design by completing this assignment? How did your use of sustainability help or hinder your robot design? Now that you have competed, what changes would you make to your robot to make it more efficient and/or sustainable if you were to do this over again? Now that your mission is complete, come up with one way to recycle and one way to repurpose your robot to make sure that your design really was green. Come up with at least one example explaining where a more sustainable design could be used in our everyday lives. Use evidence to support your thinking.