Life and Physical Sciences

Lesson 1: What is Energy?

What Is Energy?

Materials

Group Size

2-3 students

Suggested Time

40-60 minutes

Background

Energy is the ability to do work. There are many sources of energy. The biggest source of energy on our plan is the sun. Wind, water, and gas are other sources of natural energy. The unit of energy is J (Joule). Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed into different forms. This is called conservation of energy. Although energy can be in many forms, there are generally two classifications of energy: potential energy and kinetic energy. Potential Energy is the stored energy of position possessed by an object. Kinetic Energy is the energy of motion.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Define energy, kinetic energy, and potential energy
  • Explain the difference between kinetic and potential energy
  • Understand that energy can change from one form into another

Standards Alignment

NGSS: MS-PS3-5: Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.

  • Science and Engineering Practices: Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Engaging in argument from evidence in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to constructing a convincing argument that supports or refutes claims for either explanations or solutions about the natural and designed worlds.
    – Construct, use, and present oral and written arguments supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon.
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas: PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer: When the motion energy of an object changes, there is inevitably some other change in energy at the same time.
  • Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter: Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion).

CCSS: ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.

Basic Outline

Engage (Slides 3-5)
  1. Briefly introduce students to what is energy.
    • Energy is the ability to do work. There are many sources of energy. For example, sun, wind, and water. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be stored or transferred. Energy can be put into two main groups: potential energy and kinetic energy.
  2. Let the Robotic Hand hold a softball. Then release the ball to make it fall to the ground. Ask students to discuss (Group Discussion):
    • When the ball is in the Robotic Hand, what are the ball’s potential and kinetic energies? How can you tell?
    • When the ball hits the ground, what are the ball’s potential and kinetic energies? How can you tell?
  3. Ask students to share their explanations with the class.
  4. Based on their explanations, help students define the terms “potential energy” and “kinetic energy” in their own words. Examples may include “potential energy is how much energy an object has stored based on its position,” and “kinetic energy is the amount of energy an object has because it is moving.”
Explore (Slides 6-11)
  1. Discuss: What is happening to the energy of the ball as it falls? How is the energy transferred?
    Each group of students will build their own models to explain the questions.
  2. Ask students to share their models with the class.
  3. Lead students to understand that the potential energy (the energy that can potentially become movement) turns into kinetic energy (the energy of movement) as the ball falls because of the work gravity does on its.
Explain (Slides 12-14)

Explain to students that there are other types of movements that have kinetic and potential energies as well. Explain more according to the grade level.

  • Springs also have potential and kinetic energy—when a spring is fully compressed beyond its normal state, its potential energy is high and its kinetic energy is zero. But when it is then released it expands and its potential energy decreases as its kinetic energy increases until it has reached its normal state again. Similarly, when a spring is stretched beyond its normal state its potential energy is high and its kinetic energy is zero. But when it is then released it contracts and its potential energy decreases as its kinetic energy increases until it has reached its normal state again.
  • Rubber bands also have potential and kinetic energy—when the rubber band is stretched beyond its normal state its potential energy is high and its kinetic energy is zero. But when it is then released it contracts and its potential energy decreases as its kinetic energy increases until it has reached its normal state again.
Elaborate (Slide 15)
  1. Ask students if the Robotic Hand has potential and kinetic energy. Answers may include “yes, because it is off the ground,” “no, because it is on a table,” “yes, because it moves,” or “no, the motors make it move.”
  2. Explain to students that during the next lesson they will be exploring whether potential and kinetic energy can be found in the fingers of the Robotic Hand.
Evaluate (Slide 16)

Create three posters and ask students to write a response to each prompt on a sticky note and place their response on each poster. Here are the titles of the three posters:

  • What I understand about kinetic/potential energy.
  • What I still don’t understand about kinetic/potential energy.
  • What I am wondering about energy.

A teacher can post sentence starters on the posters, such as:

  • I discovered…
  • I learned…
  • Something I will remember is…
  • I still don’t understand…
  • I still have a question about…
  • I wonder…
  • I still want to know…

Students can also write on a tickets-out slip of paper or their worksheets.

Lesson 2: Where is the Energy?

Where Is the Energy?

Materials

Group Size

2-3 students

Suggested Time

40-60 minutes

Background

Energy can be put into 2 main groups: potential energy and kinetic energy.

Potential Energy has 4 forms: elastic energy, chemical energy, gravitational energy, and nuclear energy. Elastic energy is energy stored in an object due to a force that temporarily changes its shape, such as squashing or stretching. It is often called “elastic potential energy”. Chemical energy is energy stored in chemical bonds. Gravitational energy is the energy an object has based on its distance from the Earth. Nuclear energy is a non-renewable energy source that comes from the nucleus of atoms.

Kinetic Energy has 5 forms: mechanical energy, electrical energy, thermal energy, radiant energy, and sound energy. Mechanical energy, also known as motion energy, is the energy stored in moving objects. As the object moves faster, more energy is stored. Electrical energy is the energy from flow of electric charge. Some examples are batteries, electricity, lightning. Thermal energy is the internal energy that comes from a substance whose molecules and atoms are vibrating faster due to a rise in temperature. It is also called heat energy. Radiant energy is the energy of electromagnetic waves. Sound energy is the movement of energy through a substance in waves.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Recognize when an object has kinetic and potential energy due to stretches and compressions
  • Explain how kinetic and potential energies can be identified

Standards Alignment

NGSS: MS-PS3-5: Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.

  • Science and Engineering Practices: Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Engaging in argument from evidence in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to constructing a convincing argument that supports or refutes claims for either explanations or solutions about the natural and designed worlds.
    – Construct, use, and present oral and written arguments supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon.
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas: PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer: When the motion energy of an object changes, there is inevitably some other change in energy at the same time.
  • Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter: Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion).

CCSS:

ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.

ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7: Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

Basic Outline

Engage (Slides 3-5)
  1. Let students summarize what they’ve learned in the previous lesson. Review what are kinetic and potential energies.
  2. Have students discuss what makes the Robotic Hand move and what causes the fingers to straighten again. Students will share their thoughts with the class.
Explore (Slides 6-7)
  1. Ask students to (Group Work):
    1. Operate the Robotic hand and observe its movements.
    2. Determine which parts of the Robotic Hand are controlling or causing the movements.
    3. Decide if potential energy is stored in the hand, and if so, in what part(s) of the Robotic Hand it is stored.
    4. Decide if the Robotic Hand has kinetic energy, and if so, in what part(s) of the Robotic Hand it is stored.
  2. Ask students to share their explanations with the class and have the class discussion.
Explain (Slide 8)
  1. Explain to students that activating the motors pulls the strings causing the fingers to move into a bent position, and that releasing the motor releases the strings causing the fingers to straighten.
  2. Lead students to understand that when a force is removed objects tend to stop moving, rather than returning to their original position. The reason the fingers of the Robotic Hand straighten to their original position when the forces from the motor are removed is because of the rubber joints of the fingers. The rubber joints are made of an elastic material, like a rubber band. In the same way that stretching a rubber band stores potential energy, when the rubber joints are bent by the strings pulling the fingertips toward the palm the rubber joints store potential energy. In the same way that releasing a stretched rubber band allows the stored potential energy to become kinetic energy causing the rubber band to return to its normal shape, when the strings in the Robotic Hand are released the potential energy in the rubber joints converts to kinetic energy causing the fingers to move. This motion continues until all of the potential energy is gone because the rubber joints are no longer being stretched.
Elaborate (Slide 9)

Discuss: Do you notice any other types of energy present when the Robotic Hand is moving?

NOTE: The Robotic Hand also makes sound when it moves (the motors, the strings tightening, the plastic fingers colliding, etc.), and that heat is likely released due to the friction between parts. These are also conversions of potential and kinetic energy, and these other types of energy are examples of how energy is lost from the system.

Evaluate (Slide 10)

Students can be assessed by their contributions in class discussions, and their accuracy, ability to follow directions, and teamwork in conducting the experiment. A teacher can also use the Exit Ticket for formative assessment.

Lesson 3 Motion and Friction

How surfaces affect friction of an object?

Materials

Group Size

2-3 students

Suggested Time

40-60 minutes

Background 

force is a push or pull upon an object resulting from its interaction with another object. It can cause a change in motion. Force is measured in Newtons (N).

Friction is a force that acts in the direction opposite motion which occurs between two objects in contact. Friction is the force resisting the relative motion. There are two factors that affect friction: (1) the nature of the surface in contact, and (2) the amount of force on the surface by the object. Friction does not depend on the surface area of contact or the velocity of the object moving. The force of friction (f) is equal to the normal force (N) multiplied by the coefficient of friction (μ) between two surfaces:

f = μN

Newton’s Second Law tells us the relationship between acceleration and force for an object. If a net force F acts on an object with mass m it will result in an acceleration a. The direction of the acceleration is in the direction of the net force.

F=ma

The experiment in this lesson can be considered either as a pre-activity or post-activity of the lesson for Newton’s Second Law.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Plan an investigation to determine how the motion of an object is affected by the friction that acts on the object
  • Identify the variables and controls of their experimental design
  • Find out what kinds of surfaces generate more or less friction and recognize that the texture of a surface will affect the distance traveled by an object

Standards Alignment

NGSS:

MS-PS2-2: Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

  • Science and Engineering Practices: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations: Plan an investigation individually and collaboratively, and in the design: identify independent and dependent variables and controls, what tools are needed to do the gathering, how measurements will be recorded, and how many data are needed to support a claim.
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas: PS2.A: Forces and Motion: The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion.
  • Crosscutting Concepts: Stability and Change: Explanations of stability and change in natural or designed systems can be constructed by examining the changes over time and forces at different scales.

MS-ETS1-4: Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

  • Science and Engineering Practices: Developing and Using Models: Develop a model to generate data to test ideas about designed systems, including those representing inputs and outputs.
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas:
    ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions:
    – A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results, in order to improve it.
    – Models of all kinds are important for testing solutions.
    ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution: The iterative process of testing the most promising solutions and modifying what is proposed on the basis of the test results leads to greater refinement and ultimately to an optimal solution.

CCSS:

ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3: Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.

ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7: Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

MATH.CONTENT.7.NS.A.3: Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving the four operations with rational numbers.

Basic Outline

Engage (Slides 3-6)
  1. Class Discussion:
    • Have students discuss why sports shoes have rubber soles. Ask students if they would rather play tug-of-war on a wood flood in rubber-soled shoes or in their socks. Help students to understand that rubber soles increase the friction between the player and the floor, allowing them to produce a greater pushing or pulling force than wearing slippery shoes or socks would allow in a game.
    • Have students discuss why it is more common to fall or slip on the ice than on the grass. Students may say that the ice is more slippery. Then ask the students to give examples of surfaces or objects that have more or less friction. Lead students to think about whether the texture of a surface would affect the distance traveled by an object.
  2. Tell students that during today’s lab they will measure and explore how surfaces affect friction of an object.
  3. Remind students that a good experiment will limit the variables—the experiment will only have one thing change while everything else stays the same. This allows scientists to determine that the thing that is changing is the cause for differences in the results of the experiment.
  4. Group Discussion:
    • Which forces will be involved in this experiment?
    • What should the constants and variables be?
    • How can the constants be held constant?
  5. After group discussion, ask students to share their thoughts with the class. During the discussion as a class:
    • Tell students that in this experiment we assume that the force produced by the Robotic Hand’s fingers moving from a bent to a straight position is always the same. Ask students how they can use this constant force in their experiment (e.g., pushing force).
    • Help students understand that since the size, shape, and mass of the object are constant, they will only need to change the friction between the surface and the object by changing different materials.
Explore (Slides 7-8)

Provide each group with their materials for the experiment and the Lab Notes handout. Tell students to record their hypothesis and experimental design and have it approved before performing their experiment. Be sure to explain to students that the easiest way to measure distance will be to ensure the object starts at the same place for every test, just like running a race, so they should make a “starting line” using masking tape.

Students will:

  1. Prepare their testing area:
    • Carefully lay the Robotic Hand palm-down on the desk.
    • Using the remote, practice making a fist then bending and straightening the pointer finger. Adjust the height of the Robotic Hand as needed so that the
      pointer finger can bend and straighten but remain just above the flat surface.
    • Place a piece of masking tape on the surface to represent a “starting line”
      position for the object (e.g., ball) under the knuckles of the Robotic Hand.
  2. Design their experiment:
    • Determine how the texture of the surface can be varied.
    • Record their experimental design in their Lab Notes handout, and have it
      approved before continuing.
  3. Perform their experiment:
    • Bend the fingers of the robotic hand using the remote.
    • Place an object on the starting line so that the finger will strike the center of the object.
    • Extend the pointer finger of the robotic hand, causing it to flick the object.
    • Place a piece of masking tape to indicate the farthest distance the object traveled, and measure the distance between the starting line and the farthest distance. Record this measurement in the Lab Notes handout.
    • Repeat their experiment 3 times for each surface.
  4. Complete their data by calculating and recording the averages of the three
    trials in their Lab Notes handout.
Explain (Slides 9-11)
  1. Ask each group of students to discuss whether their hypotheses were proved or disproved based on their results. Be sure to emphasize that just as much knowledge can be gained by concluding that a hypothesis is disproven as can be gain by concluding that a hypothesis is proven. Tell students that both proven and disproven hypotheses increase scientific knowledge and lead to important discoveries.
  2. Teacher can explain more based on the students’ level. The result is supported by Newton’s Second Law, which tells us the relationship between acceleration and force for an object. If a net force F acts on an object with mass m, it will result in an acceleration a. The direction of the acceleration is in the direction of the net force. In this experiment, the net force was the friction caused by the texture of the surface. This caused the object to slow down when the more textured surfaces created more friction. This type of friction is called rolling friction.
Elaborate (Slide 12)

Have students discuss how increasing an object’s mass affects friction.

Evaluate (Slide 13)

Students can be assessed by their contributions in class discussions, their accuracy, ability to follow directions, and teamwork in conducting the experiment. A teacher can also use the Exit Ticket for formative assessment.

Lesson 4: Exploring Static Friction

How can we improve grip?

What is the source of static friction?

Materials

Group Size

2-3 students

Suggested Time

50 – 60 minutes, (with possible extension)

Background 

Today you will be evaluating the Neuromaker Hand’s ability to maintain hold of different objects and work in your teams to try and improve the Hand’s ability to hold items.

Different materials have different textures & microscopic compositions. Even very smooth objects have a microscopic roughness. When two objects come in contact, the microscopic bumps interact, hold together like jigsaw pieces, and form microwelds, microscopic closed joints.

The coefficient of static friction ( μs), is a number which describes the difficulty of sliding two objects against each other. The more microwelds, the higher the coefficient of friction, the harder it is for objects to slide, or in our case, drop out of the hand.

So, frictional coefficients are a material property. Making objects smoother, decreases or fills in microwelds, making it easier for objects to glide. Making objects rougher, increases microwelds, making it easier for objects to grip.

Recall that friction is a force that opposes motion.

force is a push or pull upon an object resulting from its interaction with another object. It can cause a change in motion. Force is measured in Newtons (N).

Friction is a force that acts in the direction opposite motion which occurs between two objects in contact. Friction is the force resisting the relative motion. There are two factors that affect friction: (1) the nature of the surface in contact, and (2) the amount of force on the surface by the object. Friction does not depend on the surface area of contact or the velocity of the object moving. The force of friction (f) is equal to the normal force (N) multiplied by the coefficient of friction ( μs) between two surfaces:

f = μsN

A stationary object, remains still because the forces imposing motion are not enough to counter the frictional force.

An object in motion, is moving because it has overcome the force of static friction.

 

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Understand that frictional coefficients describe a material property.
  • Understand that high/low friction can be beneficial depending on the application.
  • Evaluate Neuromaker Hand’s ability to pick up different materials.
  • Experiment with Neuromaker Hand finger manipulation.

Standards Alignment

NGSS:

MS-PS2-2: Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

  • Science and Engineering Practices: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations: Plan an investigation individually and collaboratively, and in the design: identify independent and dependent variables and controls, what tools are needed to do the gathering, how measurements will be recorded, and how many data are needed to support a claim.
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas: PS2.A: Forces and Motion: The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion.
  • Crosscutting Concepts: Stability and Change: Explanations of stability and change in natural or designed systems can be constructed by examining the changes over time and forces at different scales.

MS-ETS1-1: Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

  • Science and Engineering Practices: Asking Questions and Defining Problems:  Define a design problem that can be solved through the development of an object, tool, process or system and includes multiple criteria and constraints, including scientific knowledge that may limit possible solutions.
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas: ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems:  The more precisely a design task’s criteria and constraints can be defined, the more likely it is that the designed solution will be successful.
  • Crosscutting Concepts: Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World:  The uses of technologies and limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions.

MS-ETS1-4: Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

  • Science and Engineering Practices: Developing and Using Models: Develop a model to generate data to test ideas about designed systems, including those representing inputs and outputs.
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas:
    ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions:
    – A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results, in order to improve it.
    – Models of all kinds are important for testing solutions.
    ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution: The iterative process of testing the most promising solutions and modifying what is proposed on the basis of the test results leads to greater refinement and ultimately to an optimal solution.

CCSS:

ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3: Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.

ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7: Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

MATH.CONTENT.7.NS.A.3: Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving the four operations with rational numbers.

Basic Outline

Engage (Slides 3-5)
  1. Show BrainCo Engineering Challenge Video
  2. Class Discussion:
    • Discuss how the Neuromaker Hand is a prototype of the Brain Robotics Hand.
    • Tell students that during today’s lab they will be evaluating the Neurmaker Hand’s grasping abilities.
    • Everyday we use our hands to do various tasks & need to be able to pick up, open, & move many different types of things. 
  3. Introduce Hand Grasp Taxanomy:
    • Show 6 Basic Grasps slide.
    • Students try the 6 grasps with their own hands and test items.
    • Students observe and notate how all the fingers interact to make each grasp.
Explain (Slides 6-9)
  1. Friction Terminology: Introduce physics concepts: Frictional Force, Static Frictional Force, Coefficient of Friction, Microwelds.
  2. Students write down definitions in their worksheet.
  3. Group Discussion:
    • What factors impact motion of an object?
    • What factors impact the static frictional force?
    • For what types of applications is a high coefficient of friction beneficial? When is it good to have a low coefficient of friction?
Explore (Slides 10 – 11)
Test:  Neuromaker Hand Grasps Objects
  1. Each group will test 5 objects. Each group will have 3 easy to grab & 2 hard to grab items.
  2. Students will be using the controller to move the fingers of the hand.
  3. For more precise manipulation, students will need to turn off the system, and move the servos in the back manually. This requires unscrewing the back arm panel.
  4. Students should try to move the hand so it’s in a realistic position to grab an object from a person or off the shelf in a store.
  5. Students will hand an object to the Neuromaker Hand and orient the fingers to be able to grasp the object.
    • Some of these items the Neuromaker Hand will be able to grasp well, others will be hard to hold. Hypothesize why.
    • Document observations & hypotheses in worksheet.
  6. Walk around & check in with students, asking why they think some items are slipping. (items with texture are easier to hold & items with more contact area are easier to hold)
Test Attachment
  1. Teams will be designing/prototyping some solutions to be able to maintain hold of objects that slip from the Neuromaker Hand’s grasp.
  2. Use Build Materials: bubble wrap, rubber gloves, cotton balls, tape, string … to attach to fingers and/or surface of the hand.
  3. Retest objects that failed the grip tests earlier in orientations that people usually use to grasp those objects.
  4. If time remains, test new finger configurations for passed test objects.
  5.  
Evaluate (Slide 11)

Students can be assessed by their contributions in class discussions, their accuracy, ability to follow directions, and teamwork in conducting the experiment. A teacher can also use the Exit Ticket for formative assessment.