The Jungle Dentist
|Level: Beginner||Duration: N/A|
|Grade Level: Grades 3-5||Author: LEGO Education|
|Topics: Enhancing design and construction skills, encouraging creative thinking, improving problem-solving skills|
|Materials: Simple and Motorized Mechanisms Base Set, spare LEGO bricks or a stuffed giraffe|
Students will design and construct a motorized toothbrush long enough to reach George the Giraffe’s head, yet small enough to fit within his mouth.
George the Giraffe needs his teeth cleaned, but the dentist doesn’t have a toothbrush that will reach! In this activity, students will construct a long-handled toothbrush with an angled “brush” on the end to help clean George’s teeth. Students will need to remember that while the handle will be big, the brush must be small to fit inside George’s mouth.
During class activity:
Discuss the problem. “George the Giraffe is going to the dentist for a check-up, but the dentist doesn’t have a toothbrush long enough to reach his mouth. He is asking for your help to build a new toothbrush just for George. Remember, while giraffe’s have long necks, they have very small mouths, so your design will have to include a long handle, but a small angled brush.”
Divide the students into groups of 2-3 and give each group a Motorized Mechanisms Set.
Ask each group to build a motorized toothbrush for George. Encourage students to ‘balance’ their design so its not too heavy for the dentist to carry or too bulky to fit into George’s mouth. Note: it may be helpful for students to review the DogBot activity contained in the set. This activity may help the students in solving the design challenge.
Test each toothbrush design by creating a Giraffe out of spare LEGO parts (or by using a stuffed animal). This will provide students a way to measure their design as well as check its functionality.
- Did your design solve the problem? Can you think of ways to make your design better? (a different brush angle, longer handle, etc.)
- What problems did you have to solve while creating a new toothbrush design?
- Was it easier for the brush to move up and down or back and forth? Why?
What if George were a tiger or snake? How would you adjust your design to accommodate these animals’ needs? Invite students to select an animal and create a customized toothbrush. Encourage them to be creative! Perhaps at the end of the tiger’s toothbrush there is a shield to protect the dentist from being bitten. Or maybe if you were to design a toothbrush for a shark it would have multiple brushes since some sharks have several rows of teeth.