Flash forward to another shopping trip to Kmart when I came across these robots. They were $2 each, so buying enough for 8 groups in my class cost me a grand total of $16! For these little gems, I wanted to try to have something a bit 'meatier' for the girls to do with them rather than just make and play with them.
Cue our 'Friday Afternoon Robot STEAM Challenge'!
The design for the robot was fairly straight forward, but the girls quickly realised that they needed to put the head together in a particular way in order to have the 'hole' at the bottom which they would then use to attach it to the body!
Once they had designed their robot, they needed to carry out a fair test to determine the average distance that their robot travelled. To make their test fair, they needed to ensure that they wound the robot up the same number of times, that the robot was moving along the same surface and that there were no external factors that could impact on the robot's movement.
The next step was then to calculate the average time that their robot took to travel their calculated distance. This was also done as a fair test. Lastly, the girls had to find a formula for calculating speed from the internet and use this to determine the speed of their robot in cm/s.
The girls had a great time doing this activity. The groups who finished first I then asked to convert their robot's speed in cm/s to km/h, which they had apparently been doing in Maths, so there was a great connection between the two subjects!! The last half hour of Friday afternoon's lesson was spent with lots of engagement and hopefully some scientific thinking and mathematical learning thrown in :)