Middle School Activity
Alien Encounter Mini-Challenge
- LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education NXT Base Set W979797
- LEGO MINDSTORMS Education NXT Software 2.1 W900080
- Alien Encounter Terrain Mats W991126
- Bulk LEGO Bricks
- NXT Color Sensor
Build a simple robot that can navigate the Alien Encounter Terrain Mat using only a color sensor. Then, program the robot to travel around the mat moving space trash from one area to another.
Place the five mats around the classroom so that each team has easy access to a mat to test their robot.
Next, place the green Bulk LEGO Bricks on the green areas of the mat. Then, randomly scatter two dozen LEGO bricks in any color but green around the rest of the mat. This will be the space trash.
Have the students work in groups of two to four. Each group will build a robot using the NXT Base Set equipped with a color sensor (no other sensors can be used for this activity). After the students have built a robot, they must program it to traverse the Alien Encounter Terrain and beep when it encounters aliens – green areas on the mat. The most important thing to remember is that the robot should avoid all aliens on the terrain. All bots will start out in the blue area – the water – and it is their job to collect as much space trash as they can in two minutes without running into the aliens. All space trash collected should be placed in the incinerator – the red area. At the end of two minutes, the team with the most space trash in the incinerator and the least number of alien encounters (beeps) wins the challenge.