Lesson #3: Ideation

Duration: 60 minutes


  1. Review the pieces in robotics kit
  2. Brainstorm and ideate solutions

Big Questions

  1. What problem are we trying to solve?
  2. What physical features and characteristics does a robot need in order to clean up our streets?
  3. How does form influence function?


Setup Guide or Diagram

  • Preload videos and hook up laptop/desktop to projector
  • Teacher to write big questions on board for class to review
  • Setting Up the Playing Field

Sequence of Activities

Activity 1: Hook
Duration: 5 minutes

  • Review project objective: “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.”
  • Review the Engineering Design Cycle and expectations for the day
  • Draw student attention to brainstorm and ideate solutions phase
  • Remind students of their roles (Time Manager, Building Manager, Programming Manager, Documentation Manager)

Materials/Video Guides: Engineering Design Cycle

Activity 2: Review the pieces in robotics kit and field
Duration: 15 minutes

  • Review the pieces in the kit with the class or show Video 2
  • Teacher to review parts of the field

Materials/Video Guides: Video 2 - Review the Pieces in the Kit

Activity 3: Brainstorm and ideate solutions
Duration: 15 minutes for independent task

  • Circulate
  • Prompts creative ideation by asking students questions

Student: Independently

  • Brainstorm and ideate potential robotic solutions in SI Innovation Journal
  • Include ideas for how and when to use sensors and motors
  • Include ideas for future programming

Materials/Video Guides: SI Innovation Journal

Duration: 15 minutes for group review/vote


  • Circulate
  • Prompts creative ideation by asking students questions

Student: In Groups

  • Meet to review each group member’s ideas
  • Vote and choose the solution they want to build
  • Record final idea, sketches, and additional notes on chart paper


  • Record final idea, sketches, and additional notes in SI Innovation Journal

Materials/Video Guides: Chart paper and markers, SI Innovation Journal

Activity 4: Exit Ticket
Duration: 5 minutes

  • Pick question(s) and 1 activity from Exit Ticket Ideas (questions + activity = exit ticket)

Student: Complete activity
Materials/Video Guides: Exit Ticket Ideas

Extension Activities

Review the pieces in the robotics kit:

  • If a student has experience using the kits, have them be a leader review the parts with the class