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Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
2-4 students
Active Time
2-3 hours
Total Time
2-3 hours
Area of Science
Robotics
Key Concepts
Circuits, electromagnetic spectrum
Learning Objectives
  • Learn to assemble and troubleshoot an electronic circuit
  • Observe how infrared radiation is reflected and absorbed by different materials
  • Understand how a simple line-following robot works

A video demonstration of the line-following robot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cilOho6l3Q

Overview

Have your students read about autonomous (also called self-driving or driverless) cars in the news? How can you build a car or a robot that will stay on the road without a human driver? In this project, your students will find out by building a robot that can automatically follow a line around a homemade race course, while learning about the electromagnetic spectrum and electronic circuits.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS4-2. Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Planning and Carrying out Investigations. Collect data to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer scientific questions or test design solutions under a range of conditions.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.
PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation. When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and the frequency (color) of the light.
Structure and Function. Structures can be designed to serve particular functions by taking into account properties of different materials, and how materials can be shaped and used.

Credits

Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies

Materials


blue bot line following robot parts
  • BlueBot: 4-in-1 Robotics Kit, available our partner Home Science Tools. (Also available as a Classroom Kit at a 25% discount for teachers)
  • Additional parts and tools to assemble the robot (not included in the kit):
    • Small Phillips-head screwdriver
    • Double-sided foam tape
    • Popsicle sticks or building toy pieces like LEGO® or K'nex®
    • Optional: small needle-nose pliers and/or tweezers (make it easier for some students to handle small circuit components)
  • Materials to make a line-following racecourse:
    • White poster board or butcher paper. Clear tape can be used to connect multiple pieces edge-to-edge to make a larger course.
    • Different colored materials to make the line, such as colored electrical tape or permanent markers

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Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
2-4 students
Active Time
2-3 hours
Total Time
2-3 hours
Area of Science
Robotics
Key Concepts
Circuits, electromagnetic spectrum
Learning Objectives
  • Learn to assemble and troubleshoot an electronic circuit
  • Observe how infrared radiation is reflected and absorbed by different materials
  • Understand how a simple line-following robot works

Class Materials