Sunday, November 20, 2011

2nd Grade Lego Club Year plan

This year I am trying to be more organized in organizing the lesson plans and have them transition over time towards the Lego Robotics topic that the children will be eligible to participate in next year in Grade 3.

Luckily this year I have a parent that has volunteered to help that has followed a similar path as I have in teaching lego clubs with his older son over time. He has suggested many great ideas for the year!

Our year goes from October 2011 to June 2012. I have listed the topics below by month:

October: General Build a place: Children chose to build an Air Force base.

November: NASA Calls for Astronauts:  What will they use?

December: Creationary

January: Skyscraper Challenge

February: Longest Bridge Span Challenge

March: Intro to Gears?

April: Lego Robotics Intro  (Basics about the robots - building them and getting to know about the sensors and such)

May: Lego Robotics Tug of war (One month, we can talk about how gears work and then have two teams do a tug of war between two robots (depending on attendance, we could have four teams and do an elimination tournament).  We could discuss gearing for power and torque. )

June: Lego Robotics - Drag Race (we gear for speed and have a drag race between two robots.)

This is a draft schedule, so it may change as we go.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Planet Colonization Building Challenge

Building Challenge:

We have arrived on a new planet (Terra) to colonize it. What would we need to build to live there? We will build in groups the different pieces of our new planet's infrastructure that we need to create our world.

Definition: Infrastructure - the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country,city, or area, as transportation and communication systems,power plants, and schools. (from

Lesson Plan

  1. (10-15 min) Show and Tell
  2. (15 min) Discussion:
    1. Describe the Building Challenge (see above)
    2. Define Infrastructure (see above)
    3. Discuss what a colonist would need to survive on a new planet. 
    4. Perhaps show pictures of Champaign and Urbana from when settlers first arrived here. 
    5. Make a list on a whiteboard of the different tools, places, etc that they would need.
  3. (20 min) Build: Break into groups of 2-3 people and choose one of the items from the list to build.
  4. (25 min) Build Terra's infrastructure by putting our creations together and describing them to each other
  5. (5 min) Cleanup
  6. (10 min) Parts draft


  1. Lots of lego bricks
  2. Pictures of our town when it was first settled
  3. Description of our new planet (perhaps pictures)
    1. Same type of atmosphere as earth
    2. There are local herd animals that are a cross between a cow and an elephant.
    3. The landing site is in a climate similar to Champaign-Urbana, IL
    4. The land near the landing site is heavily forested and there is a very large lake (three times the size of Lake Michigan) a 15 minute walk from the landing site.
    5. There is a Governor of the planet who is equivalent to our President but he is in office for 5 years.
    6. We have brought cows, sheep, horses, and chickens with us. In addition to 100 seeds of 50 different types of food crops (corn, wheat, squash, etc.).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Recipe template.

_________________________________ Recipe



2x4 brick



1x4 plate


1x4 brick
2x4 plate


2x8 brick


1x2 brick


1x2 plate



  1. Gather your ingredients together before you build.

Finish the Recipe Building Challenge

Finish the Recipe

Lesson Plan Overview:
  1. Discuss what a recipe is and show examples. 
    1. Ask if any of the children have used a recipe before
    2. What can you use a recipe for?
    3. Examples: Lego instruction manual, cookie recipe
  2. Describe the building challenge
  3. Break into groups of 2-3
  4. Provide 20 minutes for the building challenge
  5. Come back together as a group to show and tell our recipes.
  6. Do the draw of 5 pieces

What is a Recipe?
A recipe is a type of instructions. It lists the items needed to create something and then detailed instructions on how to create that item. It is often used to described culinary instructions.

Building Challenge
For this building challenge the children will be given a partially defined recipe. It contains a list of ingredients (lego pieces) but does not provide the instructions or the definition of what they are creating. They are required to fill in the rest of the recipe. The building challenge rules:
  1. Only the items in the list of ingredients may be used plus one item they can choose (but must draw in).
  2. They need to provide some instructions for building the item. The instructions can be pictures or words. 

List of items required:
  1.  A cook book with example recipes.
  2.  A lego instructions book (aka a recipe).
  3.  8-10 copies of the recipe to be filled in (Template blog post).
  4.  Extra paper for the recipes.
  5. pencils, crayons or other writing utinsils


Lego Pulley Lesson Plan

February's Lesson plan will be related to pulleys and simple machines. 

Lesson Plan:
  1. Discuss what a pulley is.
  2. Perhaps show the pulleys down stairs.
  3. Ask for examples of pulleys 
  4. Do the building Challenge - 20 minutes of building time
  5. Have the children test out the creations

Building Challenge:

The elevator is broken and you need to deliver a piano to a 5th floor apartment in a building. Build something using a pulley to help you deliver the piano through a window into the apartment.

Items needed:

  1. Structure (archway) to put on top of a table to act as the "window"
  2. string to use with the pulleys
  3. A "piano" to use for lifting purposes.
  4. pictures of pulleys used in every day things. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Inclined Plane -- Marble ramps

In the November meeting we will be discussing Inclined Planes and making Marble ramps.


  1. Discuss and build inclined planes to accomplish a task.
Discussion Points:
  1. What is an inclined plane?
    1. An inclined plane is a simple machine.
    2. It is a flat surface which has one side higher than the other.
    from Weird Richard's site at 
  2. What are some examples of inclined planes?
    1. Handicap ramp
    2. Slide
    3. Delivery truck ramp
    4. stairs (versus a ladder)
    5. Ramps were used to push large stones used to build the pyramids.
    6. construction shoot
  3. Why should you use an inclined plane?
    1. Requires less work to move something from a higher location to a lower one.
    2. Requires less work to move something from a lower location to a higher one.
  4. Building Challenge: You are at the top of a hill and you have created a gigantic snow ball. You want to use that snowball to hit a snowman at the bottom of the hill. Build an inclined plane to help you hit the snowman with the snowball (a marble). 
  5. Examples of Inclined planes from Weird Richard's site:
  6. From Weird Richard at
from Weird

  1. 10+ Marbles
  2. Legos for ramp building
  3. A "snowman" to be the target
  4. Pictures or examples of inclined planes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

FRICTION and Car Building

We are starting a new year of Lego club at our local museum and I want to have more of a theme in my lessons this year. I think I will focus on physics and engineering with my 1st graders. There is a great site by xx that has a bunch of physics/engineering oriented Lego Lesson Plans that I am going to try to use:

For our October meeting, we are going to do look at Friction and how it will affect building a car. My reference is at


  • Lego wheels and axles of various types
  • Lego bricks
  • 2 or more Green lego plates
  • sheets of surfaces to test with different resistance levels 
    • sand paper
    • smooth plastic sheet
    • ??
  • other materials that have more or less friction
  • a pre-built friction car as defined in the specs of the lesson plan in the link above.

My lesson plan:

  1. Introduction to lego club and the rules
  2. Introduction of children to each other with show and tell
  3. Define Friction (
    1. fric·tion

        [frik-shuhn] –noun
      1. surface resistance to relative motion, as of a body sliding or rolling.
      2. the rubbing of the surface of one body against that of another.
    2. Discuss this with them and how friction can affect speed and such.
    3. Discuss surfaces that cause more or less friction
  4. Use the pre-built friction car as an example 
    1. on a ramp (as shown in the web site above with a green plate)
    2. Use different surfaces I brought to show how surfaces can change the speed, too.
  5. Discuss how one wheel/axle combination might be faster than another due to friction
  6. Discuss when you might want more or less friction with your wheels. (in snow, on racetrack, etc)
  7. Have a free time to build their own cars 
  8. Test out the cars 
    1. on the ramp
    2. on the different surfaces
  9. Have the children decide which car 
    1. was the fasted (discuss why) - Perhaps best for a race?
    2. which was the slowest (discuss why) - Perhaps best on a slippery surface or steep hill?
  10. If time allows have races.
  11. Clean up time
  12. Lego draft (each child chooses 10 lego pieces to take home)