• Robot War Contest

    This DragonflyTV segment demonstrates how to use the scientific method to design and build a robot with effective weapons. It also illustrates the benefit of trial and error to the design process.

    Grades: 4-6
  • LEGO Robots

    Despite meticulous planning and programming by its designers, an autonomous robot can encounter unexpected challenges. This is true for both LEGO® robots and Martian rovers. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, cast members enter the FIRST LEGO® League Challenge tournament and work as a team to program their LEGO® robot to navigate a complex obstacle course.

    Grades: 3-8
  • Walking, Soccer-Playing Robots

    In this video excerpt from NOVA scienceNOW, learn about the challenges of creating a humanoid robot that can walk and play soccer. Correspondent and New York Times technology columnist David Pogue visits a laboratory that studies how people walk using several sensors and an optical motion capture system. He learns about the complexities of walking and finds out why it is so difficult to develop a robot that can walk as well as a person. By developing robots that can play soccer, engineers are tackling some of the biggest challenges in robotics: robot vision, autonomous decision making, and bipedal walking.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Robot Race

    Creating a robot capable of safely navigating its environment without human intervention has been a goal of engineers ever since they first conceived of robots nearly 50 years ago. Despite rapid advancements in technology, however, engineers did not succeed in the task of designing autonomous robots until recently. This video segment adapted from NOVA follows two teams as they push their engineering design skills to the limit to develop systems that allow cars to drive themselves in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge.
    Grades: 3-12
  • GEMS

    A team of eleven and twelve-year old GEMS girls (Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science) design, build, and test a robot and enter it in the "First Lego League" competition. They learn how much trial-and-error goes into a successful engineering project, and how creative thinking during the competition their robot can successfully perform its prescribed tasks.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 4-6
  • RoboSnail

    A team from the Mechanical Engineering Department studies snail movement for inspiration that may lead to new forms of robotic locomotion in this video segment adapted from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the field of robotic locomotion, designers are finding the study of animal and insect movement an exciting area of research. Inspired by nature, these designers are creating robots that are extremely nimble and capable of moving over a variety of surfaces, such as rough terrain, steep inclines, and even vertical walls.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Engaging Students in Lecture and Lab

    In this professional development video from Getting Results, students and their instructors discuss how lab time reinforces what is taught in lecture. One instructor says his goal is to prepare students through lecture, and then apply the learning in a lab. In this video, the students have to understand a mathematical function in order to make a robot work. When students get frustrated in the lab, the instructor guides them with questions. One student says the lab gets results for students by “hammering home” the content. The instructor concurs, saying that he avoids telling his students how to do the problem. Instead, he encourages them to grapple with it themselves.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Robo Arm Challenge

    Robotic arms are cool, useful, and fun to make. In this video from Design Squad Nation, kids design and build controllable mechanical arms and use their "robo" arms to lift objects and to play a series of games. As they build their mechanical arms, the kids use the engineering design process, apply a variety of science concepts (e.g., levers and tension and compression), and learn how NASA uses robotic arms in many of its missions.

    Grades: 3-8,13+
  • Engineering Curiosity's Landing

    In this video excerpt from NOVA: “Ultimate Mars Challenge,” learn about the mobility and landing system of Curiosity, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover. Curiosity’s mobility system needed to both function on the surface of the planet and act as landing gear to protect the rover during touchdown. The engineering team turned to modern bicycle design for inspiration to make the mobility system as strong and as light as possible. Three of the lead engineers describe aspects of the design process and recount how they felt during tests of the system.


    Grades: 6-12