Grade 3’s introduction to the Design Lab has been a challenge to design a load-bearing structure. They must plan and develop a structure using limited materials (and time) that supports as many steel ball bearings as possible.
As different homerooms have done the activity, Jerry and I have had to adjust some of the parameters because the students have been good at finding loopholes in the problem – making the challenge too easy in some cases. For example, we had to stop students from making “water towers” (by attaching popsicle sticks to the sides of the cup like legs) because this was too strong and easy to make. After a couple of these adjustments, the challenge feels just right, and students are having to find more creative solutions.
Design Lab Load-bearing Tower
Grade 3 are currently working on their Space & Place unit, which focuses on the following NGSS standards:
5-ESS1.1 – Support an argument that differences in the apparent brightness of the sun compared to other stars is due to their relative distances from the Earth.
5-ESS1.2 – Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.
As part of the unit, students have been working on a sequence of activities in the Design Lab, including:
- Constructing scale models of planets in the solar system
- Constructing a scale model of the distance between planets in the solar system
- Design Challenge: Mars landing module
“To Scale: The Solar System”
Design Challenge: Mars Landing Module
Students examined the “Curiosity” Mars rover mission and explored some of the factors affecting the landing of the rover. Their design challenge is to create their own version of the landing module. Their craft needs to safely land a rover on the surface of Mars – in this case the “rover” is an egg that needs to land (without breaking) in the “drop zone” 2 storeys below – aided by their module design.
- Students must work to a budget, meaning they need to be intentional about the materials they use
- The egg must not break during the final test
- The module must land in the “drop zone”
“7 Minutes of Terror: Landing the Mars Rover”
G3 Space and Place
Grade 4 are practising using Edison robots, both as an engaging way to learn about coding and robotics as well as helping prepare for their upcoming unit on “Systems”.
We are running through a sequence of self-directed intro activities to help students understand:
- The different features of the robots, the various inputs (barcode, sound, light and digital upload via cable)
- The various commands & outputs (movement, sound, line tracking, stopping/avoiding lines & physical barriers)
- Some of the basic things Edison can do (driving, navigating, racing, tracing, sumo wrestling(!))
Shortly, we will upload some student videos, also attached are some activity sheets to give you an idea of how the learning material is structured.
While these activities are probably best suited to Grades 2-5, the learning sequence continues into more complex activities that would likely be applicable to higher grades. If you would like to know more, please get in touch!
The Edison robot is a powerful, engaging tool for teaching Elementary students computational thinking and computer programming in a hands-on way.
With built-in sensors as well as lights, sounds and autonomous behaviour capabilities, Edison makes robotics education accessible to students of all ages.
- Respond to light and sound
- Follow lines and avoid obstacles
- Communicate with other Edison robots
- Connect to other Edison robots and LEGO bricks
- And much more!
Edison robots can be programmed in different ways to suit students’ age/ability:
- Printable barcodes that the robot reads as it drives over (simple)
- “Ed Blocks” drag and drop block graphic language coding that students perform on iPad (intermediate)
- “EdWare” hybrid coding app (block or script) (UES)
- “EdPy” line based script coding using Python (advanced)
We can work with you and your team to plan some discrete or integrated robotics activities using Edison robots. Currently we have around 30 robots based in the ES Design Lab that we can play with in either the lab or in classrooms.