During Design Day, teams of middle and high school students complete the following projects:


Our team of experts has designed a lab experience to give pre-college students an introduction to robots. Students will learn to program robots using the LEGO NXT Mindstorm Robot. Using the graphical software (NXT G), students will write programs to control their group’s robot. Application and discovery of how programming works will be similar to lessons presented in science and math classes. Each team will discover how to adjust their programs based upon the program inputs and actual output (robot performance). During each phase, new challenges will be introduced to engage the students. This will reinforce new ideas and concepts w’hile exposing students to the newly emerging capabilities of student-controlled robotics programs.

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Humans have been building towers since we first started erecting structures thousands of years ago. Are the pyramids simply towers with wide bases necessary’ to support such structures of tremendous weight? Towers also hold up bridges such as the Mackinac and Golden Gate. Towers like the Sears Tower in Chicago are capable of housing offices, businesses, and living spaces. We also use towers to project radio signals beyond the curvature of the earth. This is accomplished by broadcasting the signal from a great height. The higher the tower, the greater the distance the signal is broadcast without interference from the Earth. This brings us to our challenge today. Given limited amounts of space and material, how does an engineer design a tall tower that is able to support a load while remaining stable? You and your team will need to figure this out!

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As demand for fossil fuels increases in almost every corner of the world, the environmental impact of combustion becomes more apparent. This reality creates an unprecedented need for technological advances which can provide energy from alternative sources and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This presentation will show why today’s energy issues are so important, provide insight into key problems, and examine how science and engineering can bring profound changes.

The first part o f the presentation will focus on the technical innovations related to the evolution o f human civilization and the need for a revolutionary change in our energy infrastructure. The second part of the presentation will provide an in-depth perspective of the energy issue and why it is so important to our nation. In conclusion, we will discuss potential solutions which can bring alternative and renewable energy into our everyday lives. Integrated in this presentation LEGO Renewable Energy demonstrations will be given by the curriculum designers.

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