Genetics Simulation

This activity was inspired by two of the disciplinary core ideas in the Next Generation Science Standards: LS3.A (Inheritance of Traits) and LS3.B (Variation of Traits). Our goal was to use Scratch with the Hummingbird to create a genetics simulation. First, we will describe the simplest version of this simulation, and then we will explain how it can be expanded for more advanced students.

Lifting a Heavy Load

This project is a challenge to your students - lift something heavy! We chose an object (a plastic dinosaur) that is too heavy to be lifted by a single motor. For reference, this dinosaur is about 230 g, and items about 160 g and lower (the other toys we tried) could be lifted by one servo motor.

Codes with Binary

This project was developed based on a disciplinary core idea from the Next Generation Science Standards. PS4-C. (Information Technologies and Instrumentation) focuses on how information can be transferred, particularly digitally. This project shows how this idea could be implemented at different levels of complexity for different grade levels. 

Creating Waves with a Gear Motor

This project was developed in response to disciplinary core idea PS4-A Properties of Waves in the Next Generation Science Standards. We wanted to create a prototype to demonstrate how a motor can be used to produce waves. A gear motor was connected to a system with a crankshaft, connecting rod, and piston. The distance sensor was used to measure the position of the piston as it moved, and this information was plotted to the screen using Scratch.

A Robotic Rube Goldberg Machine

Form groups of 2-3 students. Each group will design a set-up that will incorporate at least 2 sensors and at least 2 simple machines. This set-up will be used to perform a simple task of the group’s choosing (throwing a bottle into a recycling bin, launching a paper airplane, etc.). The sensors will trigger simple machines in different locations in order to perform this task. In addition, students should incorporate normal, everyday items within the set-up to help with the task (dominoes, etc.).

Constellations

Students will be placed in groups of 4-5 and will choose a constellation to model. They will use at least 3 LEDs, 1 motor or servo motor, and 1 sensor. They will research the constellation and portray several facets of information that they have found. Students will keep a laboratory journal describing the astronomical attributes of the constellation (distance across in light years, type of stars, color of stars, age of stars, brightest to least brightest stars, when it appears in the Northern Hemisphere, etc.).

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