Author:
Carrie Robledo
Subject:
Mathematics, Science, Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Level:
Upper Primary, Middle School
Tags:
  • 35-da-03
  • 35-da-04
  • 35.DA.03
  • 35.DA.04
  • 5th Grade
  • 5th Grade Science
  • 7th Grade
  • 7th Grade Science
  • Engineering Lessons
  • K12 Engineers
  • K2.AP.05
  • NC Engineers
  • Sphero
  • Stem
  • k2-ap-05
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Language:
    English

    Education Standards

    Forces and Motion with Spheros

    Forces and Motion with Spheros

    Overview

     

    Students are tasked with moving a 20 gram (or other low denomination) weight a distance of one meter using a “Sphero*” remote controlled robot.  Students use available materials to design and build a structure that will allow the sphero to push or pull the weight, while allowing for factors such as friction, direction, and gravity.  

     

    *Note: Although students can issue specific commands in the Sphero software, this activity only requires that they be able to “drive” the Sphero, thus providing the force to move the weight. 

    Instructor Directions

     

    Forces and Motion with Spheros

    Submitted by Andrew Tauber

    Chapel Hill - Carrboro City Schools

     

     

    Driving Question / ScenarioHow do forces and friction affect the movement of objects?
    Project SummaryStudents are tasked with moving a 20 gram (or other low denomination) weight a distance of one meter using a “Sphero*” remote controlled robot.  Students use available materials to design and build a structure that will allow the sphero to push or pull the weight, while allowing for factors such as friction, direction, and gravity.  *Note: Although students can issue specific commands in the Sphero software, this activity only requires that they be able to “drive” the Sphero, thus providing the force to move the weight.
    Estimated Time1 hour
    Materials / ResourcesSphero Robots, ipad or mobile device to control sphero, K’Nex, cardboard tubes, rubber bands, tape, pipe cleaners, Legos, printer paper
    Grade5th, 7th
    Subject(s)Math, Science,
    Educational StandardsNC Essential Standards for Science
    Classifying Objective5.P.1.1 Students know that gravity pulls any object on or near the earth toward it without touching it. Students know that friction is a force that is created anytime two surfaces move or try to move across each other. Students know that all matter has mass. Students understand that changing any or all of these factors will affect the motion of an object.7.P.1.2 Explain the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces acting on an object (including friction, gravity and magnets).
    Project Outline
    AskProblems: How to use the Sphero to move a 20g weight the distance of one yard. Constraints: The sphero can provide the only force to move the weight. The design is also constrained by available materials.
    ImagineWhat would happen if you tried to push the weight with the sphero by itself?  What could you add to the sphero that will help it move the weight? Think about things you have seen that push or pull other objects.  
    PlanDraw your sphero and then draw the materials you will add to the sphero. Draw what you think will happen when your design pushes or pulls the weight. Then gather the materials you will need.
    CreateObtain materials to follow through with your plan. Test your design by trying to move the weight with the Sphero.
    ImproveIf the design isn’t able to move the weight one meter, what happened instead?  How can you change one part of your design to overcome that problem? Make the change, and test again.  Test other changes if you need to.  If your design was able to move the weight one meter, can you improve your design to make it faster or more efficient?
    Closure / Student ReflectionsHow would you describe the movement of a sphero?  What external factors affected the movement of the sphero?  What materials would allow you to make a better or more efficient design? What problems/challenges did you face in your initial design?
    Possible Modifications / ExtensionsHow can you get the Sphero to move a greater weight? Adding/Subtracting building materials from the students supplies. Brainstorming other ideas for generating force (wind for example).