Solar SPRK+ Lesson 6: Final Challenge and Presentation

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Unit:
Author:
Deb Frankel
Intended Grade Level(s):
6th
7th
8th
Subject Area(s) Covered:
Engineering design; computer programming; Mars rovers
photovoltaics
Estimated Activity Length:
8 hours
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will combine SPRK+ programming with the construction of a compatible chariot in order to guide their SPRK+ “Mars rover” to carry solar panels to a charging station.
  2. Students will present a final project to the class that summarizes their knowledge about the scientific background knowledge tied to this project as well as their design and testing process.

In this lesson, students will navigate through a maze using their SPRK+ in order to reach the solar charging station.  Students will redesign their chariot in order to meet the needs of this new maze in order to carry their solar panels to the charging station, providing energy for their rover to continue working.  Following the completion of... View full description >>

Solar SPRK+ Lesson 5: Chariot Engineering Design

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Unit:
Author:
Deb Frankel
Intended Grade Level(s):
6th
7th
8th
Subject Area(s) Covered:
engineering design
mars rover
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will identify possible design solutions to have a Sphero SPRK+ pull solar panels as a portable power source.
  2. Students will work in groups to determine the best possible designs and construct and test these designs with their team.
  3. Students will determine the strengths and weaknesses of each design and incorporate these findings into further construction phases.

Students will work through the engineering design process to build a chariot for their SPRK+ that will carry their solar panels through a maze to a charging station.  Students will draft prototypes, test their designs, and make changes to their design based on the initial success of the chariot. View full description >>

Solar SPRK+ Lesson 4: Electricity Fundamentals and Photovoltaics

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Unit:
Author:
Deb Frankel
Intended Grade Level(s):
6th
7th
8th
Subject Area(s) Covered:
Electricity fundamentals; photovoltaics; solar battery charging; solar powering electronic devices
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour 40 min
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will determine how to create various types of circuits in order to power loads with different electric needs.
  2. Students will identify the electric needs of a Sphero charger and build a circuit needed to charge this device.

Students work through a number of solar circuit explorations that culminate in a challenge to charge the Sphero SPRK+ devices with solar panels. In this exploration, students will investigate the requirements of various loads, working toward the voltage and amperage requirements presented specifically by the SPRK+ charging station. View full description >>

Solar SPRK+ Lesson 3: Mars Exploration Debate

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0
Unit:
Author:
Deb Frankel
Intended Grade Level(s):
6th
7th
8th
Subject Area(s) Covered:
research
debate
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will identify high quality scientific information through research that represents multiple sides of an argument.
  2. Students will communicate a pre-determined side of an argument verbally, using evidence to support their claims.

Students will research and then debate about the value of Mars exploration through robotic and/or human missions using a debate structure. View full description >>

Solar SPRK+ Lesson 2: Sphero Edu Coding

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Unit:
Author:
Deb Frankel
Intended Grade Level(s):
6th
7th
8th
Subject Area(s) Covered:
Computer Programming
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will use block programming and Oval Language in order to make a SPRK+ perform a variety of motion-oriented tasks.
  2. Students will combine motion and sound functions using block programming and Oval Language.
  3. Students will track useful pieces of sequence code that they can reuse in order to get their SPRK+ to navigate a lengthy maze.

After working on a few Scratch drag and drop programs, participants will transition to Sphero Edu, a comparable drag and drop program for Lesson 2 to prepare to program a Sphero SPRK+ ball to navigate through a maze.  View full description >>

Solar SPRK+ Lesson 1: Introduction to Drag and Drop Coding Using Scratch

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0
Unit:
Author:
Deb Frankel
Intended Grade Level(s):
6th
7th
8th
Subject Area(s) Covered:
Computer Programming
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will understand how to properly order basic blocks of code to program simple functions.
  2. Students will determine the steps needed to debug issues in block programming.
  3. Students will devise methods to achieve basic animation-focused block programming tasks.
  4. Students will combine music and animation to create music videos and simple games using block coding.

Students go through a series of exercises and projects/challenges to gain familiarity with coding, specifically with drag-and-drop coding. Students will look at Scratch, a free introductory computer programming language, which focuses on creative computing. After working on a few Scratch drag and drop programs, participants will transition to... View full description >>

Solar SPRK+ Unit Overview

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0
Unit:
Author:
Deb Frankel
Intended Grade Level(s):
6th
7th
8th
Subject Area(s) Covered:
Computer Programming
electricity
solar energy
Solar Battery Charging
Mars Rovers
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will develop tools to use in the Engineering Design Process.
  2. Students will learn drag and drop programming with Sphero Edu (formerly Lightning Lab).
  3. Students will determine how series and parallel circuits affect voltage and current.
  4. Students will understand how to use photovoltaic sources to charge a SPRK+.
  5. Students will design a chariot to carry a photovoltaic power source for a SPRK+.
  6. Students will learn to program a SPRK+ ball and chariot through a maze.

This unit incorporates basic programming knowledge and solar energy into an engineering design challenge using Sphero SPRK+ robots. The theme for this challenge centers on the idea of Mars rovers, and the challenges faced in space exploration, specifically remote control of exploration tools and the energy generation needed to power these... View full description >>

Solar Updraft Towers Lesson 5: Learning About Solar Updraft Towers

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0
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Intended Grade Level(s):
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
Subject Area(s) Covered:
Solar updraft towers
renewable energy innovations
passive solar energy usage
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will be able to define and explain what a solar updraft tower is.
  2. Students will make connections between their previous engineering challenge and a real world solution to the world’s growing energy demands, including careers.

This lesson helps students learn about solar updraft towers being planned and built around the world to help solve the energy crisis by using unlimited power from the sun. This will provide real world context to the engineering challenge they engaged in during the previous lesson. A video is shown to the class; then students are encouraged to... View full description >>

Solar Updraft Towers Lesson 4: Let's Build Our Wind and Solar Energy Toy

Average Rating:
0
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Intended Grade Level(s):
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
Subject Area(s) Covered:
wind energy
engineering design
Solar Updraft Tower
solar energy
energy transformations
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will determine that thermal energy resulting from the sun’s radiation can create an updraft that will power a turbine to spin.                                                
  2. Students will identify characteristics of turbine design that improve the success of their device.
  3. Students will utilize content from previous phenomena they investigated, such as the chimney stack effect and Norwegian candle toys, to determine how to best harness the energy transformed by their device from the sun.

Students will combine what they learned in previous lessons using their investigations of convection-related phenomena to design a device that will convert light energy from the sun into thermal energy and utilize the resulting convection currents. Their primary objective will be to design a device that uses energy from the sun when placed on a... View full description >>

Solar Updraft Towers Lesson 3: Wind Power--A Hands on Experience

Average Rating:
0
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Intended Grade Level(s):
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
Subject Area(s) Covered:
wind energy
engineering design
energy transformations
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will understand that wind energy can be converted into other forms of energy.
  2. Students will determine different methods to increase the effectiveness of a wind turbine blade at harnessing and converting the mechanical energy of the wind.

This lesson challenges students to work in teams to design successful turbine blades for the “KidWind Firefly”. The firefly has an LED light that lights up when the students have designed turbine blades that spin effectively. This lesson provides students with hands on experience in designing turbines blades. This will scaffold them nicely into... View full description >>

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