December 5

Inchworm Bot: A crawling bot that teaches kids about Newton’s 3rd Law

Blog, Lego Robotics

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Challenge Level: Beginner: 2 out of 5
Build Challenge:  2/5
Programming Challenge: 3/5

The Inchworm Bot teaches students about opposing forces with a robot that uses two “legs” to propel itself forward with just one motor.

How does it work?

A real-life worm moves by extending its body, anchoring itself into the ground and then pulling the rest of its body forward.  Our robot acts in a similar way and encourages students to tinker with its programming to mimic a worm’s crawling motion.

It’s a great bot for beginner students, while also providing seasoned builders with new mechanics and programming to learn.

Scientific Concepts We Teach

Force, Action / Reaction & Newton’s Third Law

Newton’s 3rd Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  For example, when you sit down on a chair, the weight of your body and gravity pulls you down while the support of the chair pushes you up, hence the reason you can sit still.

The Inchworm Bot is a great way to teach kids about Newton’s famous law because it uses only one motor to move.  It’s a gateway into the properties of Force applied in a way that they can touch, manipulate and understand.

Lesson Plan

We will spend about 2 lessons constructing the Inchworm Bot.  It uses a Brain, one wire, one motor and 4 wheels.  It’s a straightforward build with some difficulties when adding the gears in the back of the bot.

Programming is where this robot will truly challenge students.  While making the program, we will encourage students to customize and fiddle with aspects of the program to get it to work properly.  Experimenting with small changes to the power level of the motor, as well as the timing, will determine how smoothly the bot can move forward.

Completion

One of the most fun part for students in our after-school class is playing with the completed bot.  The Inchworm provides a fantastic introduction to Lego Mindstorms while bringing in new challenges for experienced builders.

If you’re ready to join us in our Lego Robotics class, you can signup here

inchworm-min


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Eric Horwitz

About LIFT

Eric founded LIFT Enrichment in 2010 because he wanted to help young kids develop their culinary skills so they could make healthy foods for friends and family for the rest of their lives.  He has worked with kids for over 15 years and enjoys their energy and enthusiasm for learning new things.  Eric studied abroad in Italy while at UCLA and discovered a passion for cooking.  

Eric Horwitz, Ceo of Lift

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