Lesson #1: Investigate

Duration: 60 minutes


  1. Identify the problem 
  2. Introduce groups and roles
  3. Generate research questions
  4. Begin research

Big Questions

  1. What problem are we trying to solve?
  2. What is an autonomous robot?
  3. What role do autonomous robots play in caring for our environment?


Setup Guide or Diagram

Before the lesson

  • Print and assemble SI Innovation Journal for each student
  • Optional: Provide students with links to your school’s online databases and research resources
  • Create groups of 3-4 students and assign each student a role
  • Print Student Roles and display them in the classroom
  • Preload videos and hook up laptop/desktop to projector
  • Teacher to write big questions on board for class to review
  • Teacher to work with a few students outside of class to build the field

Sequence of Activities

Activity 1: Hook
Duration: 10 minutes

  • Show Video 1
  • Review and assign student roles (Time Manager, Building Manager, Programming Manager, Documentation Manager)

Materials/Video Guides: Video 1 - Project Overview

Activity 2: Identify the problem
Duration: 5 minutes

  • Pass out SI Innovation Journal
  • Circulate and guide students

Student: Independently

  • Brainstorm: identify the problem and record in SI Innovation Journal

Materials/Video Guides: SI Innovation Journal

Activity 3: Questionstorming
Duration: 10 minutes

  • Play Video 5 for students

Student: Independently

  • Generate research questions and record in SI Innovation Journal

Materials/Video Guides: Video 5 - Questionstorming

Activity 4: Introduce group and roles
Duration: 20 minutes

  • Introduce students to groupings, roles, and respectful group work etiquette
  • Circulate and guide groups with the following questions:
  • What is an autonomous robot?
    • What roles do robots play in pollution mitigation?
    • Why could robots be more useful than humans in pollution clean-up?

Student: In Groups

  • Review of student roles
  • Share ideas generated through the questionstorming process and come to a consensus about:
    • the problem to be solved
    • what questions will be researched 

Materials/Video Guides: Student Role Description, Chart paper and marker

Activity 5: Begin research
Duration: 10 minutes

  • Steer students to pre-determined online databases or curated research resources
  • Circulate and guide as needed

Student: In Groups

  • Conduct research to answer research questions

Materials/Video Guides: SI Innovation Journal, Optional: Research Resources

Activity 6: Exit Ticket
Duration: 5 minutes
Teacher: Collect journal to review exit ticket reflections
Student: Independently

  • Answer exit ticket questions in SI Innovation Journal

Materials/Video Guides: SI Innovation Journal


  • Creating student groups
    • Group students by mixing ability and leadership styles
  • Research questions
    • Teacher can provide students with research questions for greater prompting
    • Teacher can ask students to provide their own research questions (through the questionstorming period)
  • Research Resources
    • Teachers can provide students with articles and links to resources or provide no links and ask students to conduct research using the school’s research databases or pre vetted search engines
    • Teacher can print articles for students that find it easier to read a hardcopy
  • Citations

Extension Activities


  • Students continue research outside of the classroom