Carrie Robledo, Elizabeth Foxworth
Material Type:
Upper Primary
  • 35-ic-02
  • 35.IC.02
  • 4th Grade
  • 5th Grade
  • K2.IC.02
  • NCEngineers
  • Science
  • k2-ic-02
  • k5engineers
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

    Education Standards

    Cleaning Our EcoSystem with Robots

    Cleaning Our EcoSystem with Robots


    Students will design a device using Spheros or Sphero Minis and recyclables to help clean trash out of waterways.

    Instructor Directions


    Cleaning Our Ecosystem with Robots

    Submitted by Marie Foxworth

    Carteret County Public Schools


    Driving Question / ScenarioWhy is keeping waterways clean important to the ecosystem?
    Project SummaryStudents will design a device using Spheros or Sphero Minis and recyclables to help clean trash out of waterways.
    Estimated Time 2, 50 minute class periods but depending on the speed students work, it may take 3.
    Materials / ResourcesRead Aloud: “The Pout Pout Fish Cleans up the Ocean Floor” by Deborah Diesen, OSMO or OSMO mini robots, “trash” ( bottle caps, paper, plastics, cardboard, etc.)
    Grade4th and 5th
    Educational Standards4.L.1 Understand the effects of environmental changes, adaptations and behaviors that enable animals (including humans) to survive in changing habitats5.L.2 Understand the interdependence of plants and animals with their ecosystem.         
    Classifying Objective4.L.1.1 Give examples of changes in an organism’s environment that are beneficial to it and some that are harmful.4.L.1.3 Explain how humans can adapt their behavior to live in changing habitats (e.g., recycling wastes, establishing rain gardens, planting trees and shrubs to prevent flooding and erosion).5.L.2.3 Infer the effects that may result from the interconnected relationship of plants and animals to their ecosystem
    Project Outline
    Ask“Why is it important to keep waterways such as streams, rivers, estuaries, clean?”  Allow students to brainstorm and discuss reasons why they need  to keep waterways clean and the effects it has on the environment when they are polluted with trash.  Ask students, “How do we get trash out of the waterways once it is there?”  
    ImagineThe teacher will read aloud, The Pout Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean Floor” by Deborah Diesen.  Then show students real pictures, video clips, ect of polluted waterways.
    PlanStudents will create designs of different possible Sphero robots that could potentially be used to clean trash out of different waterways.
    CreateStudents will use recyclable materials to recreate their designs in 3D.
    ImproveStudents will test their design by trying to clean up “waterways” in the classroom.  The waterway is the classroom floor with trash scattered about. The teacher can use tape to create the visual of  stream or river banks. Allow students to test and count the amount of “trash” collected, and then give them time to revise their creations and retest to see if they are able to collect more trash the second time.  Students can graph their results.
    Closure / Student ReflectionsHave students use the graphs created to track the amount of trash collected to determine which design was most efficient.
    Possible Modifications / ExtensionsHave students research oil spills that have occurred off various coastlines  and design ways to clean them.  This can be done using a sheet pan with water and vegetable oil to represent the ocean and an oil spill.