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A.A.2 | Data Collecting

Created by: Modular Robotics

Lesson Overview:

Students will continue to explore robots and their behavior, but will now practice recording their data and discovering the importance of data collection. They will use this data to analyze robot behavior and use the scientific method to draw conclusions. They will continue to build knowledge about how complex systems are made up of smaller parts. Students will have the opportunity to explore more Sense, and Act Cubelets, and will use the various Think Cubelets. They will discover how these Think cubes effect behavior.

If you feel that your class already has a handle on data collection from other science units, then you can skip this lesson. If students need more review in building the robots and understanding the concepts introduced thus far, or need more practice in data collection, then use this lesson as a review for some, or all, of your students.

The Basics:
Ages: 13 – 17 years (grades 7-12)
Time: 30-45 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Lesson Goal (for the educator): Students will learn methods of collecting and recording data to analyze and draw conclusions. They will see the importance of recording precise data in scientific inquiry.
Lesson Objectives (for the students): I will develop a method of recording data in a precise and accurate way so that I can analyze it and draw conclusions based on my findings.
Essential Questions: What does it mean to record accurate and precise data? How can I use the scientific method to help me in this pursuit? Why is precise data collection so important?
21st Century Skills: Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication and Collaboration
Concepts: Data collection, scientific method, and recording, analyzing, synthesizing and drawing conclusions
Vocabulary: Analyzing, synthesizing, precision
Required Cubelets: Distance, 2 Drive, Battery, Brightness, Rotate, Flashlight, Knob, Bar Graph, Blocker, Passive, Inverse – enough for each group of 2-5 students
Additional Materials: Student Robotics Journal and flashlights and tents – one for each group (refer to Educator Information Sheet)

The Standards:
ISTE: International Society for Technology Education
Creativity and Innovation 1.b, 1.a, 1.c, 1.d Communication and Collaboration 2.d Research and Information Fluency 3.a, 3.d Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making 4.a, 4.b, 4.c, 4.d Technology Operations and Concepts 6.a, 6.b, 6.c, 6.d
CCSS: Common Core Standards
ELA-Literacy.W.7.10, W.8.10, W.9-10.10, W.11-12.10
NGSS: Next Generation Science Standards

Prior Knowledge Necessary for the Student:

Basic understanding of Cubelets

Prior Knowledge for the Educator:

Experiment with the new Cubelets and see how different configurations can combine to produce different behaviors. Note how each of the newly introduced Cubelets works in relation to the other cubes.

Educator Tips:
  • Don’t tell the students how to record their data – allow them to work as a team to discover what works for them.
  • If you have a certain protocol for data collection you will be able to teach them about this later in the lesson.

  • Divide the class into groups of 2-5 students.
  • For each group, place in a container the required Cubelets along with a flashlight and a tent.

Lesson Plan Assets and Resources:

Click the buttons to download the Robot Journal and Extra Journal Pages


Time: 5 Minutes
  1. “Thus far, what have you learned from your investigations building these robots?”
  2. Allow students to share their experiences and discoveries.
  3. Review the Objective and introduce/review the vocabulary.
  4. Ask students if they experienced using two senses and/or two actions. What happened when they built robots with more than one sense and/or action?
  5. Allow students to respond and get them to think about how they can keep track of all of the different inputs, outputs and conclusions. Remind them about past data collecting they have done. Explain that they will have more Cubelets to work with today so data collecting will be essential. You can also emphasize the importance of accurate data collection to science.
  6. “This time, as you build your robots and test how they operate, I want you, as a team, to work out a way to collect and record data. You will then be using this data, or research, to draw conclusions. Precise and accurate data will allow you to credibly back up your conclusions.”
  7. “You will also have a chance to find out how some new Cubelets work when building robots.” Show the new Cubelets to your class – the Knob, Bar Graph, Blocker, Passive, and Inverse, and talk about how their names might give clues as to how they operate.

Time to Explore:
    Time: 15-20 Minutes
  1. Allow the students to explore and work together building and testing robots. Be sure they are working collaboratively to come up with ways to collect and record data.
  2. To facilitate this, walk around the room asking questions:
    • Has your team come up with a way to collect your data? What are your methods for doing this?
    • How might you be more systematic in your approach?
    • What are you discovering about the new Cubelets you are using today?
  3. If their data collecting method doesn’t seem adequate, encourage them to think about more precise methods.
  4. Time: 3 Minutes
  5. Stop the class and ask some of the groups to share what they have discovered about collecting data. If you have an Opaque Projector you can show their work this way.
  6. Point out some of the stellar examples of collecting data and encourage the students to modify their methods in ways that you see fit according to your own, or your school’s philosophies/methods for this task.
  7. Ask the students what they have discovered about the Inverse, Passive, and Blocker Cubelets. See if they can articulate that these are the Think cubes in their robots.
  8. Time: 15-20 Minutes
  9. Allow the students more time to explore with their new knowledge and modify their collection methods.

    Time: 2-5 Minutes
  1. Recap with the students what they learned in this lesson and make sure they understand how each of the Think cubes operate. Talk about how robots can be considered machines that Sense, Think, and Act.
  2. Time: 5 Minutes
  3. Give students time to record their observations and conclusions in their Robotics Journal or lab notebook. Encourage them to use words and other methods of recording such as charts, sketches, flow charts, mind mapping, etc. (Refer to the Educator Information Sheet)
  4. Time: 1 Minute
  5. Allow time for students to put materials away and plug in the battery Cubelets for recharging.

End Results:

Students will learn to collect data in an accurate way and discover that the robots they are building can sense, think, and act – and that the configurations they build effect their behavior. They will also learn about the new Think Cubelets.

Optional Quick Write For Prompt and/or Evaluation:

Describe some important aspects about working in a group. What worked for you today and what were some challenges.


What did you discover about accurately collecting data? What did you learn about the new Think cubes and building robots?

What To Go To Next:
For More Review: If Objectives Are Met: To Enhance and Extend:

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