Applying Mechatronics to Promote Science / Central Brooklyn Robotics Initiative (AMPS / CBRI)

**Javed Narain**, MS (2nd. year) Civil Engineering

**Summary:** Students learn about and practice converting between fractions, decimals and percentages. Using a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robot and a touch sensor, each group inputs a fraction of its choosing. Team members convert this same fraction into a decimal, and then a percentage via hand calculations, and double check their work using the NXT robot. Then they observe the robot moving forward and record that distance. Students learn that the distance moved is a fraction of the full distance, based on the fraction that they input, so if they input ½, the robot moves half of the original distance. From this, students work backwards to compute the full distance. Groups then compete in a game in which they are challenged to move the robot as close as possible to a target distance by inputting a fraction into the NXT bot.

**Ursula Koniges**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Chemical & Biological Engineering

**Summary:** Students develop and solidify their understanding of the concept of "perimeter" as they engage in a portion of the civil engineering task of land surveying. Specifically, they measure and calculate the perimeter of a fenced in area of "farmland," and see that this length is equivalent to the minimum required length of a fence to enclose it. Doing this for variously shaped areas confirms that the perimeter is the minimal length of fence required to enclose those shapes. Then students use the technology of a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robot to automate this task. After measuring the perimeter (and thus required fence length) of the "farmland," students see the NXT robot travel around this length, just as a surveyor might travel around an area during the course of surveying land or measuring for fence materials. While practicing their problem solving and measurement skills, students learn and reinforce their scientific and geometric vocabulary.

**Carole Chen**, MS (2nd year) Chemical and Biological Engineering

**Summary:** Working as a team, students discover that the value of pi (3.1415926...) is a constant and applies to all different sized circles. The team builds a basic robot and programs it to travel in a circular motion. A marker attached to the robot chassis draws a circle on the ground as the robot travels the programmed circular path. Students measure the circle's circumference and diameter and calculate pi by dividing the circumference by the diameter. They discover the pi and circumference relationship; the circumference of a circle divided by the diameter is the value of pi.

Teachengineering.org | Pre Activity Worksheet (pdf) | Pre Activity Worksheet Answers (pdf)

**Akim Faisal**, MS (1st. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** In this activity students will gain a better understanding of different units of measurements. Students fail to grasp the concept of different units of measurements and conversion at an early stage in their education. The problems that students are asked to solve in classroom such as converting from either yard to feet or feet to inches and so forth may seem simple to us adults and teachers, however to students the arithmetic may be difficult and often the concept of “unit conversion” may be abstract. Although Students may know the conversion factors such as 1 feet is equivalent to 12 inches or 1 yard is equal to 3 feet, they have not yet developed a mental model of the magnitude these units represent (i.e. inches make up feet therefore a foot is larger in magnitude than inches). The goal of this activity is to develop and strengthen the mental representation of different units so that students may convert one unit to another with ease. Furthermore, this activity will also give students a visual and physical representation of the magnitude of feet, yard and inches are.

Not only does this lesson focus on unit conversion in simple mathematical language, this lesson also incorporates units and measurements in engineering modeling and calculations. Unit conversions play a significant role in Engineering and Science, almost all of the data that are collected by scientists and engineers have units, and these numbers are converted to other units depending on either how the number is to be utilized in an equation or some type of calculations.

Teachengineering.org | Complete Activity (pdf) | Worksheet (pdf) | Pre Evaluation (pdf) | Post Evaluation (pdf)

**Ursula Koniges**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Chemical & Biological Engineering

**Summary:** Students will solidify their understanding of different types of lines, as well as line features, specifically: parallel lines, non-parallel lines, and points of line intersection. This understanding will be developed through application of these concepts to LEGO MINDSTORMS robots, and practice identifying examples of each concept in this context. Students will identify whether or not different robot “tracks” laid down by the instructor are parallel or non-parallel, and will observe the consequences of their understanding by allowing two robots to travel simultaneously along these tracks. Robots that are on intersecting courses will face imminent collision, while robots on parallel courses will travel in safety. This lesson will help prepare students for the geometry portion of the New York State education standards in mathematics, while simultaneously entertaining students through hands-on interaction with LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robots.

Teachengineering.org | Complete Activity (pdf) | Pre Evaluation (pdf) | Post Evaluation (pdf)

**Akim Faisal**, MS (1st. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary: **Students learn various topics associated with the circle through studying a clock. These topics include reading analog time, understanding the concept of rotation (clockwise vs. counter-clockwise), and identifying a right angle and a straight angle within a circle. Many young students have difficulty telling time in analog format, especially with decreasing presence of analog clocks compared with digital clocks. Problems encountered in classroom include converting time written in words to a number format. For example, students have trouble making the connection between "quarter of an hour" to 15 minutes. Students also find it difficult to convert "quarter of an hour" to the number of degrees this corresponds to in a circle. This activity incorporates a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robot to help students distinguish and visualize the differences in clockwise vs. counter-clockwise rotation and right vs. straight angles, while learning how to tell time on an analog clock. To promote team learning and increase engagement, students work in teams to program and control the robot.

**Ursula Koniges**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Chemical & Biological Engineering

**Summary:** Students will solidify their understanding of the geometry term ?perimeter? through application of the concept to LEGO Mindstorms NXT robotics programming. Students will measure the perimeter of LEGO Mindstorms NXT robot wheels in order to determine how far the robot can travel during one rotation of an NXT motor. Students will also enhance their metric system measurement skills by having to precisely record the length of a wheel’s perimeter in centimeters, and fractions of centimeters. The importance of fractions of centimeters will be emphasized through this measurement process.

Teachengineering.org | Complete Activity (pdf) | Pre Evaluation (pdf) | Post Evaluation (pdf)

**Akim Faisal**, MS (1st. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** Students learn about probability through a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NTX-based activity that simulates a game of "rock-paper-scissors." The LEGO robot mimics the outcome of random game scenarios in order to help students gain a better understanding of events that follow real-life random phenomenon, such as bridge failures, weather forecasts and automobile accidents. Students learn to connect keywords such as certainty, probable, unlikely and impossibility to real-world engineering applications.

Teachengineering.org | Worksheet (pdf)

**Carole Chen**, MS (1st year) Chemical and Biological Engineering

**Summary:** Working as a team, students discover that any side of a triangle is always shorter than the sum of the other two sides; known as the triangle inequality. Each team builds a basic Lego robot that is programmed to travel along a triangle. The triangle is made of electrical tape that is taped onto the ground. Students have to note that the time it takes for the robot to travel any two sides of a triangle (Case 1) is longer than the remaining third side of the triangle (Case 2). This is true given that for both cases, the robot is traveling at the same motor speed. From this activity, students learn of the parameters that makes a triangle a "valid" triangle; namely the triangle inequality theorem. At the same time, with the use of Lego robot, they learn of motor speed through the use of distance and time.

Complete Activity (pdf) | Worksheet (pdf)