Project 1 Is there life on Mars?

STEM+C Projects

A Project-based STEM+Computing Inquiry

About

This project was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Number 1640228. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Dazhi Yang at dazhiyang@boisestate.edu or use our Contact Form.

Description

This project-based scientific inquiry project: Is There Life on Mars? is centered on designing robots and testing them on a simulated Mars. In this project, students work in small groups to explore and research the existence of life on Mars. Then they design and develop robots to detect life on a simulated Mars. Students learn how to program related science and engineering concepts into the designing of robots using Mindstorms EV3 Legos. To develop computational thinking and an understanding of STEM subjects, students from 4th, 5th and 6th grade will work in small groups of six, with one in-service and one pre-service teacher, twice a week for eight weeks in a community centers after-school program.

Implementation

Please refer to the weekly activities (such as Week 1 Session 1 in the left sidebar and Resources from the sections below) for detailed information on how to use this project either in a classroom or an informal setting such as in community centers' after-school programs. The twice weekly sessions were originally designed to be 90 minutes in length, including a 10 minute break in the middle of the session. See photos of prior implementations on the projects' photo pages.


Week 4


Session 1
Questions

How to program a Lego robot to make turns using Gyro sensor?

How can we debug when the programs run into some trouble?


Goal

To solve problems using Move Steering, Loop, Display, and Gyro Blocks.

To understand useful techniques for debugging.

To use proper techniques to debug


Activities

Write code using Move Steering Block, Loop Block, Display Block and Gyro Block.

Use Display Block to display sensor value.

Learn about the problem solving process

Research the forms of life


Resources

Worksheet 5

Internet Resources


Outcomes

A code using Move Steering Block, Loop Block, Display Block and Gyro Block

Session 2
Questions

How to program a Lego robot for more complex missions?

space


Goal

To solve problem using Move Steering Block, Loop Block, Switch Block, Sound Block and Gyro Block.

To use "if-then-else" logic to commend the robot for different conditions.


Activities

Write code using "if-then-else" logic for complex missions

Learn about the components of a robot

Learn about EV3 robot parts

space


Resources

Worksheet 6

space


Outcomes

A code that includes programmed "if-then-else" logic

How can we detect life on Mars using a robot?


Entry Event 5 minutes

Teacher asks the follow questions:

1. What does a Gyro sensor do?

2. How can we program Lego robots to make perfect turns?


How to program a Lego robot to make turns using Gyro sensor? Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry 30 minutes

Students research about how to determine if life ever arose on Mars and how to detect life on Mars. They produce a group oral report or a PowerPoint Presentation on their research question(s).

Directions

Distribute laptops and Worksheet 5 to the students.

Part 1 in Worksheet 5 (Note: Worksheet 5 has two parts)

Have student read the first problem in Worksheet 5.

Have students research and explore relevant blocks needed to solve the problem on Worksheet 5.

Have a group discussion on the first problem and possible solutions.

Have students test their solutions and debug.

Have students work on Part 2 of Worksheet 5 [Hold off on the Problem 5b here, it will be done in Part II]

Have a group discussion on the first problem and possible solutions.


Resources

Worksheet 5

"Show EV3 Help" in the EV3 Software environment.

Introduction to Programming - Lego Mindstorms EV3

10 minute break

How can we detect life on Mars using a robot?


Entry Event 10 minutes

Teachers asks the following questions

1. How is debugging useful?

2. How can we figure out what went wrong in your program?


How can we debug when the programs run into trouble? Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry 55 minutes

Students read Debug their code when their program runs into some matters and take notes on the important facts and knowledge they found during their research.

Have a group discussion on the use of different techniques and where it is in the program, or knowing what values the sensors see.

Have students work on Problem 5b in Worksheet 5. (Note: This problem uses a debugging technique - showing the value of gyro sensor)

Have a group discussion on the first problem and possible solutions.

Have students test their solutions and debug.

Collect the finished worksheets.


Resources

Debug their code when their program runs into some matters

Worksheet 5

"Show EV3 Help" in the EV3 Software environment.

Introduction to Programming - Lego Mindstorms EV3


End of Session Reflection and Debriefing 5-10 minutes

Teacher briefly explains the computational thinking (CT) skill embedded in the Problem Solving Process Diagram. Using the problem solving process diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

What did I learn today?

What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

How did I use the problem solving skills/processes/CT components?

How can we detect life on Mars using a robot?


Entry Event 5 minutes

Teacher asks the follow questions:

1. How do you write a program that asks your robot to respond differently based on different situations (or different sensory inputs)?

2. What are some techniques you can use to debug? (a question that reminds students what they have learned in the last session. They may need to use some techniques to help them debug when they are writing more complex code).


Programing a Lego robot for more complex missions Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry 50 minutes

Directions

Distribute laptops and Worksheet 6 to the students.

Have student read the first problem in Worksheet 6.

Have students research and explore relevant blocks needed to solve the problem on Worksheet 6.

Have a group discussion on the first problem and possible solutions.

Have students test their solutions and debug.

Collect the finished worksheets.


Resources

Worksheet 6 (Answer Sheet for Worksheet 6 can be found on the Resources page)

"Show EV3 Help" in the EV3 Software environment.

Introduction to Programming - Lego Mindstorms EV3


End of Session Reflection and Debriefing 5-10 minutes

Teacher briefly explains the computational thinking (CT) skill embedded in the Problem Solving Process Diagram. Using the problem solving process diagram, the teacher will ask students to identify what kind of problem solving skills/process/computational thinking they used in this session and explain how they used it. The following are some sample questions that can guide the debrief.

What did I learn today?

What problem solving skills/processes or CT components in this diagram did I use today?

How did I use the problem solving skills/processes/CT components?