Design, build, and program recycling solutions

This was a solution for cleaning the ocean.

5th grade robotics project


  • 8 laptops
  • 24 Mindstorms kits
  • Internet access

Purpose: To design, build, and program a working model for a real world recycling problem. In addition, students were required to demonstrate their working model and give a digital presentation about the engineering process from beginning to end.

This project was completed with three different 5th grade classes with 30 to 32 students in each class.ย  Students were allowed to choose their own groups of 3 to 4 students. With other classes, I have assigned groups.

Students were given the task of researching ten problems with recycling that they would like to solve. Once they had their ten problems then they needed to research the capabilities of the LEGO Mindstorms educational kit. With this information, they were to choose one of the ten problems and develop a working model solution using the robotics kits. Guiding students in this process is important. Reminding them of the time constraints is critical for being able to design, build, and program a working solution as well as prepare a digital presentation to explain the engineering process from beginning to end. Students need to have enough time to complete and test a working model so that changes can be made as necessary.

My students had ten weeks of meeting for an hour a week.

The students learned how to manage multiple tasks within the given time constraints and efficiently use all the group members for the benefit of the group.

The engineering process factors heavily into the new science standards, NEXT Generation Science Standards, NGSS. The use of robotics to design, build, and program working models incorporate many of the engineering aspects including the iterative process of testing and improving the design. In addition, using real world science problems to create challenges for students can target any number of the particular science standards. Understanding environmental issues and developing working solutions to the problems, through the use of robotics, provide students with a conceptual understanding as well as the ability to see the importance of what they are learning in real-world applications. I also feel that robotics helps to provide a hands-on concrete experience for students with mathematical concepts from decimals, distance, measurement, angles, and much more.


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Kellie Taylor

Kellie Taylor

I teach engineering to kindergarten through fifth grade students using LEGO WeDo and Mindstorms, and have experience integrating Mindstorms in the general classroom. I have also designed and taught an afterschool program for students in first through fifth grade.