activity page will offer:
opportunity for creative design
activity using self-powered vehicles
classroom challenge in testing, design, and construction
Are you ready for a challenge? In this activity, you'll be placed
into groups and given a kit of construction supplies. The supplies
include a variety of simple building materials and a DC motor with
a power source. Your group's role is to use these parts to assemble
a motor-powered vehicle that can climb up the steepest ramp angle.
AA cells with holder
Sheet of heavy-stock cardboard
(consisting of a wooden plank support by a stack of books)
- Work in a cooperative team as designated by your instructor.
Your team's challenge is to create a self-powered vehicle that
can climb ramps of different angles.
- Obtain the team material kit. Remove each of the parts and discuss
how each might be used in the construction of a self-powered vehicle.
- Brainstorm all elements of the vehicle's design. Consider things
such as the number and placement of wheels. Consider the overall
chassis design as it relates to the placement of the motor.
- Once you have decided on a prototype design, sketch out a blueprint
for your vehicle. Label each part. Share your blueprints with
other members of the class and discuss your design strategy.
- With your instructor's approval, assemble your vehicle according
to the submitted plans. Use care when using scissors or other
- Test your design. Think of ways to improve the vehicle's performance
using any leftover materials from your materials kit. Test and
evaluate your improvement designs.
- In the classroom challenge, compare your vehicle's performance
in climbing ramps with the performance of other vehicles. Which
one can climb the steepest ramp? Which one is quickest? Examine
the factors that account for the observed differences. Use your
observations to continually improve your vehicle's design.
- Test your final designs. What improvements did you make? Why
were they successful in improving performance?
- What construction parts accounted for most of the vehicle's
- How did the placement of the motor affect the vehicle's directional
stability and traction?
- Did the wheels affect the climbing ability of the vehicle? Explain.
Work with a group of students to compose a humorous play in which
the main characters are a crew of robot television hosts. These
hosts present a show that addresses topics of concern to their robot
audiences. If applicable, model the show's structure on similar
daytime television offerings such as The View or The Other Half.
Consider different guests or features that might be the focus of
a segment. After writing the script, perform it for your classmates.
the Next Competition Is.... Suppose you were in charge
of designing competitions for classroom robotic creations. What
types of competitions would you create? What factors might influence
your choice? How might the competitions be crafted in order to attract
a broad television audience?
Write a science fiction story about a group of engineering students
participating in a robot competition. Unbeknownst to the students,
the robots have a sinister intelligence. Secretly the robots communicate
with each other as they plan to overthrow the humans and take over
NASA site on robotics and classroom activities.
A list and description of robot competitions around the world
History of Robotics
Well-illustrated history of robotics with many links to additional