Teacher Toolbox - Students' Building Roles
The build instructions will show students step-by-step instructions on how to build the Earthquake Platform. The Build Instruction Tips section will point out additional information for specific steps which will help students be successful with their build, so be sure to point out that section to students. There is an optional rubric to evaluate the Earthquake Platform build on this page (Google Doc/.docx/.pdf). If any rubrics are used to evaluate students, review the rubric or pass out copies before students begin working so they are clear on how they will be assessed.
Before starting the build, consider how your students will be organized. Will each student have their own robot, or will they work in pairs or teams? If working in teams, there is an optional collaboration rubric on this page (Google Doc/.docx/.pdf). If working in teams, each student could build a portion of steps or each student could be given a role. The following roles can be assigned during the building of the Earthquake Platform:
Motor: This person follows Steps 1-6 to build the motor of the Earthquake Platform.
Frame: This person follows Steps 7-9 to build the structure that the motor is mounted to in the Earthquake Platform.
Wiring: This person follows Steps 10-11 to add the radio and battery to the brain and wire the motor to Port 1 of the brain. This person is also responsible for making sure that the battery is charged and ready ahead of time.
Platform: This person follows Steps 12-16 to finish adding the platform to the Earthquake Platform.
If there are two students on each team, the students can each choose two roles. If there are three students on a team, one of the students can complete both the Frame and Wiring roles.
Provide the list of roles and their responsibilities to the students. Once students are in their teams, allow the members to choose their roles. Circulate the classroom and make sure that every student has a role. Again, there is an optional collaboration rubric on this page (Google Doc/.docx/.pdf).
Remind the students of roles throughout the exploration. For roles to work, students have to feel as though they will be held accountable for fulfilling those roles. Therefore, interject if you see a student taking over someone else's role or not fulfilling their assigned role. Reminders about who is supposed to be doing what can be useful interventions.
For additional suggestions on how to keep groups who finish building more quickly than others engaged, see this article.
Teacher Tips - Turning on the Earthquake Platform
If the build instructions are followed, it should take approximately 20 minutes to build the Earthquake Platform. An additional five minutes was added to the total estimated build time in order to account for students who may need extra time.
In this lab, the Earthquake Platform is not run and tested until the Rethink section. If you would like to test the Earthquake Platform sooner, follow the instructions on this page (Google Doc / .docx / .pdf).
Extend Your Learning - If Finished Early
Some teams may finish the build faster than others. Encourage teams who finish early to help other teams with their builds and to foster broader collaborations.
Another option is to ask those students who finished early to review the Build Instructions, to identify steps they found confusing, and to explain why in their engineering notebooks. Students should also describe how they would change the instructions. This activity will foster critical thinking skills for students who found the build easy, while giving you time to continue helping students who are still working on the build.
Extend Your Learning - Sammy
Who is Sammy? Sammy is a VEX Robotics companion made out of only 9 VEX IQ pieces. Sammy is a great extension learning activity because students can create any accessory or setting for Sammy that they like. Students are only limited by the bounds of their imagination! Click one of the provided links (Google Drive/.pdf) to see the build instructions for Sammy.
Ask students to build a Sammy when they have finished the build early, or as a fun, stand-alone extension activity. If students have already built a Sammy in previous labs, ask them to write a story for Sammy using the Earthquake Platform as a basis for the story. A possible idea is asking the students to make Sammy a seismologist (a person who studies earthquakes) and conduct some research on some famous earthquakes in history. Ask the students to write down their findings in their engineering notebook. The students can also pose the activity as an interview where they interview Sammy about famous earthquakes. Students can then write the script for the interview in their engineering notebook. There is also the option to use the engineering notebook as an assessment. There are optional rubrics for individual (Google Doc/.docx/.pdf) and team (Google Doc/.docx/.pdf) engineering notebooks.
Teacher Toolbox - Checklist
Once all students have completed the build, go through this checklist to make sure students are ready to move on.