Trash and pollution are ongoing problems in urban centers. As a protector of this planet, your mission is to improve the world by designing a product that will help to clean up our streets. How cool would it be if you could build an autonomous robot to do this task? Imagine how much cleaner our world would be!
Students will use the NXT or EV3 Robotics Kits to build and program their robot as well as keep a Smithsonian Innovation Journal (similar to an engineering journal) to document their progress.
The objective of this project is for students to work in teams to investigate trash collection in urban centers and to imagine, design, and build a robotic solution. Students should first aim to create a robot that gathers trash and places it on one side of the playing field.
Two other extensions for advanced robotics students include building a robot that:
- Collects trash and places it into a bin
- Sorts the trash by color and places them in their appropriate bins
- 8 lessons - 60 minutes each
- Additional lessons can be added for the research phase, build/test phase, and presentation phase (extra lessons may be added to accommodate extension activities - see individual lessons)
STEAM Subject Areas
Math, Science, Engineering, Technology, Reading/Writing
- Design thinking
- Critical thinking
- Problem solving
- Time and resource management
- Presentation skills
- Collaboration / team work
Recommended Learning Group Size
Groups of 3-4 students
Setup Overview Guide
Documents to print before the start of the project
- Student Role Descriptions
- Engineering design cycle graphic
- SI Innovation Journal
- Setting Up the Playing Field
- Video 6 - Teacher Tips and Set Up
- Setting Up the Playing Field
- Ask students to bring in recycled materials for the playing field
- Teacher to work with a few students outside of class to build the field (suggestion: prepare the playing field before the project begins)
- Each group of students should be assigned 1 robotic kit
- Kits should be labelled and students are responsible for all parts in their kits
- Although typically sharing is great, students should not share pieces from their robotics kits with each other so as to keep each kit intact
- Each group should have a designated space to keep their kit and their “working” robot can live on top of the kit or in a separate bin
- Add NXT or EV3 software to laptops or desktops
- If you have laptops, each team should receive a laptop to use for programming in their designated work space
- If your classroom has desktops, students should take turns using the desktops to program
Project Breakdown by Lesson
- ARTLAB+ at the Hirshhorn is a radically inclusive, free after-school digital arts program for teenagers between 13 and 19.
- Spark!Lab visitors can enjoy exploring activities related to our homes while engaging in the invention process.
- Robots All Around Us: Students work in design teams to research and discuss robots that exist; create a rendering of a robot they want to make; build a three-dimensional prototype of their robot; participate in presentations and peer criticism; and write a descriptive paragraph about their creation.
- The Total Package: Students gather and analyze information about a specific product, create a new design for the product and generate a written report that contains the suggested changes for the product.
- Doghouses, Doors & Design: Students will engage in active problem solving as they create a design for a doghouse.
- Introduction to Computer-Aided Design: Students will explore roller coaster design, computer graphics, and architecture. They will focus on understanding the connections between mathematics, science, technology and innovation.
- Innovating in i3: Why Innovation is Important in Schools
- Attack the Knack – investigates student motivation in science, and explores how the types of feedback students receive can influence self-perception, effort, persistence and learning.
- Investigating Circuit Design– Generating Electric Energy
- Investigating Circuit Design– Solar Cells
- Podcasting with Your Students
- Robots at Smithsonian Institution
- Activity Collection: Artbots!