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

**Ronald Poveda**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** During this activity students will be learning about the concept of accuracy as it pertains to robotics. Students will be gaining insight into experimental accuracy and knowing how and when to estimate values that they measure. Awareness of sources of error stemming from the robotic setup in conjunction with number rounding is explored.

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

**Gisselle Cunningham**, MS (1st. year) Biomedical Engineering

**Summary:** Students are given the opportunity to visualize and interact with concepts they have already learned, specifically algebraic equations and solving for unknown variables. Students construct a balancing seesaw system (LEGO® Balance Scale) made from LEGO MINDSTORMS® parts and digital components to mimic a balancing scale. They are given sample algebraic equation problems to analyze, configure onto the balance scale, and evaluate by manipulating LEGO pieces and gram masses that represent terms of an equation such as unknown variables, coefficients and integers. Digital light sensors, built into the LEGO Balance Scale, detect any balance or imbalances displayed on the balancing scale. The LEGO Balance Scale interactively issues out a digital indication of balance or imbalance within the system to students. If unbalanced, students are encouraged to continue using the LEGO Balance Scale until they're correct and confident in their understanding of solving for algebraic equations. The goal of this activity is for each student to be encouraged and confident in solving algebraic equations by fundamentally understanding the basics of algebra and real-world algebraic applications.

**Raymond Le Grand**, MS (1st. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** Students learn about the concept of pushing, as well as the relationship between force and mass. Students practice measurement skills using pan scales and rulers to make predictions about mass and distance. A LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot is used to test their hypotheses. By the end of the activity, students have a better understanding of robotics, mass and friction and the concept of predicting.

**Nicole Abaid**, Ph.D. (3rd. year) Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

**Summary:** Students discover the mathematical constant phi, the golden ratio, through hands-on activities. They measure dimensions of "natural objects"—a star, a nautilus shell and human hand bones—and calculate ratios of the measured values, which are close to phi. Then students learn a basic definition of a mathematical sequence, specifically the Fibonacci sequence. By taking ratios of successive terms of the sequence, they find numbers close to phi. They solve a squares puzzle that creates an approximate Fibonacci spiral. Finally, the instructor demonstrates the rule of the Fibonacci sequence via a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robot equipped with a pen. The robot (already created as part of the companion activity, The Fibonacci Sequence & Robots) draws a Fibonacci spiral that is similar to the nautilus shape.

Teachengineering.org | Complete Activity (pdf) | Worksheet (pdf)

**Nicole Abaid**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** Using the LEGO NXT Robotics kit, students learn how to build and program a robot. Students are assigned roles, consisting of group leader, chassis builder, arm builder, chief programmer, and Fibonacci verifier. By building a robot that moves based on the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, the students can visualize how quickly the numbers in the sequence grow. Programming the robot to move according to these numbers allow the students to break down the sequence into simple algebraic equations, so that a computer can understand the Fibonacci sequence.

Teachengineering.org | Complete Activity (pdf) | Worksheet (pdf)

**Michael Hernandez**, Ph.D. (3rd. year) Chemical and Biological Engineering

**Summary:** Students are introduced to the idea of gear ratios and how they are used in everyday life and in robotics. Students discover how gears work and how they can be used effectively in robot designs to increase speed or torque. Students quickly recognize that some tasks require a faster robot while others are more suited for slower, more powerful robots. They are introduced to torque and speed, the two traits of the robot affected by using gears. Once the students are introduced to the principles behind gear ratios, they are put to the test in two simple activities. One of the activities is better suited for a quicker robot while the other calls for a more powerful robot. A set of questions follow in the attached worksheet to ensure that the students understand the way gears work and the balance between torque and speed.

Teachengineering.org | Complete Activity (pdf) | Worksheet (pdf)

**Elina Mamasheva**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Chemical and Biological Engineering

**Summary:** In this activity, the students practice their multiplication skills using a robot with wheels built from Legos. First, the students are encouraged to think of ways to determine the distance travelled by the robot without physically measuring the distance from the starting location to the final location. After the students are allowed to brainstorm for some time, they try to determine the distance by measuring the circumference of the wheels, and multiplying the circumference of the wheel by the number of revolutions that the robot was programmed to do. Once they do this, they can physically measure the distance travelled and compare it to the one they obtained by multiplication. They get to practice multiplication and develop measuring skills, as well as are encouraged to come up with a creative solution to the problem.

**Irina Igel**, M.S./Ph.D. (2nd. year) Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

**Summary:** During this activity students will collect the data of the spring deflection using LEGO equipment. They will use their measurements to calculate the mean, median, mode, range, percent difference and learn how to represent their data in excel.

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

**Ronald Poveda**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** Students during this activity are using a simple machine to demonstrate an analogous visualization of solving two or three-step equations in mathematics. Students in the classroom will not only solve two-step equations on a provided worksheet, but will also solve the equations using the seesaw balance. The use of sensor equipment for proper position monitoring is used to aid students in balancing the structure, as well as balancing the equation as they solve it on paper.

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

**Ronald Poveda**, Ph.D. (2nd. year) Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** Students during this activity are learning about the measurement and mathematics behind simple structures that are seen in everyday life, such as a beam. Geometry, along with other factors and characteristics, can affect the how and the why certain structures are used. Students will be able to investigate this for themselves, as they will perform an experiment on different types of beams. Students will measure different types of beams for their cross-sectional area values, and compare them to how much they bend as a load is placed on each beam. By doing this, students will be able to investigate the ideal geometry and material for a load bearing beam.

Teachengineering.org | Complete Activity (pdf)

**Sam Sangankar**, Ph.D. (1st. year) Civil Engineering

**Summary:** Students work in groups using a timer or stopwatch to measure the speed of an NXT robot. The robot can be started and stopped by using a touch sensor and it is programmed to display the distance it has traveled in centimeters after it stops. Using the gathered data, students complete a worksheet to determine the mean speed of an NXT robot at a given motor power.

**Raymond Le Grand**, MS(1st. year), Mechanical Engineering

**Summary:** Students learn about trigonometry, geometry and measurements while participating in a hands-on interaction with LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT technology. First they review fundamental geometrical and trigonometric concepts. Then, they estimate the height of various objects by using simple trigonometry. Students measure the height of the objects using the LEGO robot kit, giving them an opportunity to see how sensors and technology can be used to measure things on a larger scale. Students discover that they can use this method to estimate the height of buildings, trees or other tall objects. Finally, students synthesize their knowledge by applying it to solve similar problems. By activity end, students have a better grasp of trigonometry and its everyday applications.