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Helping Hand
Lab 1 - Speed Stacker

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Part 1 - Step by Step

  1. InstructInstruct students that they will begin investigating the Adaptation Claw! Students will fill out a Data Collection Sheet that contains questions and prompts to explore how the claw works. Distribute the sheet and six different classroom supplies to each group that they will use to test the functionality of the claw. The classroom supplies should vary in size and shape. Students will begin by ensuring they are in their group and that each group has one sheet, six classroom supplies, and a built Adaptation Claw.
    Investigate the Adaptation Claw
    Investigate the Adaptation Claw
  2. ModelModel for students how to test the different questions and prompts on the Data Collection Sheet with the claw. For example, for the following question, “what makes the claw open and close?” The teacher will model pulling and extending the handle and calling out how this affects the claw opening and closing. The teacher will then document this finding on the sheet before moving on to the next one.
    Video file
    Claw opening and closing
  3. FacilitateFacilitate a discussion with the students by asking the following questions as they complete the activity:
    1. What VEX GO pieces allow the claw to move? Can you point to some of them on the Adaptation Claw build for me?
    2. Can you model, using your hands, how the claw grabs objects?
    3. Were there any questions on the sheet that gave you a different answer than you were expecting?
    4. What is one feature of the claw that you did not know it was capable of?
    5. Overall, what is your experience from experimenting with the Adaptation Claw?
      Discuss the Adaptation Claw
      Discuss the Adaptation Claw
  4. RemindRemind students to record their answers to the questions and prompts on their Data Collection Sheet. Encourage students to write or draw their responses. Remind students to keep trying even when they fail at first by asking students what worked in their attempts and what did not. Use this information to help students make edits based on their mistakes, instead of getting frustrated and giving up. Point out that testing something and it not working, allows students to better understand exactly what part of the test failed, in order to make more specific and targeted edits to improve for next time. The students will need to explore how the claw works before being able to answer all questions.
    Test the Adaptation Claw
    Test the Adaptation Claw
  5. AskAsk students questions to help foster a growth mindset. Ask if there were any questions that they did not know how to answer at first on their sheet. If so, how did they work as a group to answer the question? Ask the students what they learned so far, and what else they would like to learn that they have not yet about the Adaptation Claw.

Mid-Play Break & Group Discussion

As soon as every group has completed their Data Collection Sheet, come together for a brief conversation.

  • What VEX GO pieces did you see that made the claw open and close?
  • What is the main thing you learned from working through the questions on the Data Collection Sheet?
  • If you had to explain how the Adaptation Claw works to a friend or sibling, what would you say?
  • How do you think the Adaptation Claw could be used to help people with limited mobility?

Part 2 - Step by Step

  1. InstructInstruct the groups that with the new understanding they have of how the Adaptation Claw works and moves, they will create a strategy to build a tower by stacking as many plastic cups as they can in one minute.

    The challenge is based in a real world application of completing a task with limited mobility, because the students will need to stack the cups on a desk, but must remain sitting in a chair. Students will have a total of 10 plastic cups that they can stack.

    If the group stacks all 10 before time is up, encourage them to try different variations of the tower, such as how many cups start at the base. To begin, each group will need 10 plastic cups, 1 timing device, 1 chair, 1 desk, and their Adaptation Claw. The 10 plastic cups will start on the desk stacked in a line. The students will have to pull them off of the original stack, and place them as they please in a tower format.

    Stack Challenge Materials
    Stack Challenge Materials
  2. ModelModel how to stack the cups on the desk using the Adaptation Claw. Show students that they must use the claw to reach the cups and place them in a tower format. Model how to reach for the cups while sitting in the chair.
    Model Stack Challenge
    Model Stack Challenge
  3. FacilitateFacilitate a discussion with the students by asking the following questions as they complete the challenge:
    1. Which part of the plastic cup (lip, bottom, middle) did you grab with the claw and why?
    2. Can you model the claw, using your hands, the strategy that you used to stack a tower?
    3. What are you finding most challenging about stacking the cups?
    4. Was your strategy effective the first time? Did you face any problems that you had to fix?
    5. How does being seated make the challenge more difficult?
      Discuss the Stack Challenge
      Discuss the Stack Challenge
  4. RemindRemind students that they only have one minute to stack as many of the 10 cups as they can. As students are developing their strategy for how to stack, remind them that their stack might fall over the first time, and encourage them to continue trying. Have students think about how their tower was stacked, by thinking about how many cups they had at their base. Was it too many? Too few? How were they stacked on each other that caused it to fall? Failure is an important piece in the learning process.
  5. AskAsk students questions to help foster a growth mindset, such as, “when stacking your cups, did anything go wrong? If so, great! What did you learn from it and how did you overcome it?”

Optional: Teams may deconstruct their Adaptation Claw if needed at this point in the experience. They will use the same build in the subsequent labs, so this is a teacher option.