Forces and Motion: Sphero Tractor Pull Investigation Part Two
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On day one students figure out how to connect and program the Sphero. After that, they gather baseline data while using a basic roll block code. They record the time it takes for their robot to travel 5 meters using the code (check out the resources below to see the lab packet and online activity page). Now for day two.
Day Two (here’s part one):
- We preview Part 2 in the lab packet (download below).
- We watch some examples of previous student work to get them thinking. Here is a short video I use.
- After that, I describe the materials that can be used to build their tractor. Here are the materials I usually have available: string, fishing line, various plastic cups, masking tape, tin foil, construction paper, plain printer paper, notecards, and coffee filters.
- It’s important to remind them that their tractor must be able to pull added weight. Sometimes they use too much mass and the robot doesn’t go anywhere.
- Usually, this step takes a couple of days. They have to build a working tractor, gather the baseline data without added mass and then gather data with added mass.
- Some years I have had students create their data table to capture the following information: mass of Sphero, the mass of Sphero and tractor, the mass of Sphero and tractor and added weight, the kinetic energy of the Sphero. We have also used this activity to review what we learned in a previous unit - Types of Energy.
- Once the Part Two data has been collected they complete the concluding questions.
- Once everything is organized and planned this activity is just plain fun to be a part of. Students are challenged, frustrated, and then excited.
Additional Sphero Resources:
- Sphero Amazon Store* - this is where I purchase new robots when the battery life has run its course.
- Sphero EDU - is the home for Sphero educational activities.
- Getting Starting with Sphero Edu - a tutorial.
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