Design a Robot Helper
National Science Education Standards
A. As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop
B. As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all
students should develop an understanding of
- Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
- Understandings about scientific inquiry
- Motions and forces
- Transfer of energy
E. As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
- Abilities of technological design
- Understandings about science and technology
- Measuring instruments can be used to gather accurate
information for making scientific comparisons of objects and events
and for designing and constructing things that will work properly.
- Technology extends the ability of people to change the
world: to cut, shape, or put together materials; to move things from
one place to another; and to reach farther with their hands, voices,
senses, and minds. The changes may be for survival needs such as food,
shelter, and defense, for communication and transportation, or to gain
knowledge and express ideas.
- In earlier times, the accumulated information and techniques
of each generation of workers were taught on the job directly to the
next generation of workers. Today, the knowledge base for technology
can be found as well in libraries of print and electronic resources
and is often taught in the classroom.
- Technology is essential to science for such purposes
as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection
and treatment, measurement, data collection and storage, computation,
and communication of information.
- There is no perfect design. Designs that are best in
one respect (safety or ease of use, for example) may be inferior in
other ways (cost or appearance). Usually some features must be sacrificed
to get others. How such trade-offs are received depends upon which features
are emphasized and which are down-played.
- Even a good design may fail. Sometimes steps can be taken
ahead of time to reduce the likelihood of failure, but it cannot be
- The solution to one problem may create other problems.
Design usually requires taking constraints into account. Some constraints,
such as gravity or the properties of the materials to be used, are unavoidable.
Other constraints, including economic, political, social, ethical, and
aesthetic ones, limit choices.
- Almost all control systems have inputs, outputs,
and feedback. The essence of control is comparing information about
what is happening to what people want to happen and then making
appropriate adjustments. This procedure requires sensing information,
processing it, and making changes. In almost all modern machines,
microprocessors serve as centers of performance control.
- Systems fail because they have faulty or poorly
matched parts, are used in ways that exceed what was intended by
the design, or were poorly designed to begin with. The most common
ways to prevent failure are pretesting parts and procedures, overdesign,
- Changes in speed or direction of motion are caused
by forces. The greater the force is, the greater the change in motion
will be. The more massive an object is, the less effect a given
force will have.
- How fast things move differs greatly. Some things
are so slow that their journey takes a long time; others move too
fast for people to even see them.
- An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or
direction of motion, or both. If the force acts toward a single center,
the object's path may curve into an orbit around the center.
- The earth's gravity pulls any object toward it without
- Every object exerts gravitational force on every other
object. The force depends on how much mass the objects have and on how
far apart they are. The force is hard to detect unless at least one
of the objects has a lot of mass.
- Scale drawings show shapes and compare locations of
things very different in size.
International Technology Education Association
(ITEA) Standards for Technological Literacy
- The motion of an object is always judged with respect
to some other object or point and so the idea of absolute motion or
rest is misleading.
Standard 8: Students will develop an understanding of the
attributes of design.
Standard 9: Students will develop an understanding of engineering
Standard 10: Students will develop an understanding of
the role of troubleshooting, research and development, invention and innovation,
and experimentation in problem solving.
Abilities of a Technological World
Standard 11: Students will develop abilities to apply the
The Designed World
Standard 16: Students will develop an understanding of
and be able to select and use energy and power technologies.
Standard 17: Students will develop an understanding of
and be able to select and use information and communication technologies.
Standard 18: Students will develop an understanding
of and be able to select and use transportation technologies.
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