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Lesson Title: Heavy Lifter
May 11, 2012

Unit: Engineering - Robotics

Grade Levels: 6-9

Connection To Curriculum: Science, Mathematics and Technology

Teacher Prep Time: 20 minutes

Lesson Time Needed: 1.5 hours

Complexity Basic

Keywords: engineering, design process, rovers, entry, descent, landing


(per crane)
cardboard box (shoebox size or bigger)
3 strips of corrugated cardboard (2 x 11 inches/5 x 28 cm)
paper clip
large paper cup
3 sharpened pencils
smooth string (e.g., fishing line or kite string)
weights (e.g., batteries, pennies, marbles or gravel)

This lesson includes a series of activities that are based on robotics applications.

Students will:
• Design and build a crane out of cardboard.
• Determine methods to reinforce the crane's arms so it doesn't collapse under a heavy load.
• Build a crank handle.

First page of Heavy Lifter

Lesson Guide
Heavy Lifter Lesson
[89KB PDF file]



Lesson Activities and Sequence

Heavy Lifting
Students make use of a crane here on Earth and apply how to use a crane in other places like the moon. At a lunar outpost, astronauts will need machines to build structures and move materials. One of those machines will be a crane. You've probably seen cranes lifting materials and moving them around a construction site. Cranes have a long arm, which holds a cable with a hook on the end. Whether they are on Earth or on the moon, cranes have to be strong to lift heavy loads without breaking.
Keywords: robotic arm, cranes, heavy load, moon

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Understanding of scientific concepts.
• An appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.
• Understanding of the nature of science.
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
• The dispositions to use the skills, abilities and attitudes associated with science.
Science and Technology
• Abilities of technological design.
• Understanding about science and technology.
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Personal health.
• Risks and benefits.
• Science and technology in society.
History and Nature of Science
• Science as a human endeavor.
• Nature of scientific knowledge.
• Historical perspectives.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes.
• Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
• Identify trends and forecast possibilities.
Communication and Collaboration
• Interact, collaborate and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
• Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
• Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
• Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
• Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
• Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
• Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
• Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.


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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator