Fourth Graders Design Olympic Events for HexBugs

By Intermediate and Middle School STEAM and Coding teacher Adam Colestock
On Thursday, the Collab Lab became design central as students in 4th grade used their engineering skills and creativity to propose and prototype potential events for a HexBug Olympics. HexBugs are small robots that skitter around a flat surface in all directions powered by the vibrations created by a tiny spinning motor inside. The 4th graders have been working with the HexBugs since December Recess as part of their engineering unit with me and Mr. Audrain.

Students learned about simple machines, forces and motion, and observation and measurement as they conducted careful investigations of HexBug behaviors and performance under different conditions, such as on different grades of slope, on different surfaces, while pushing or pulling weights and more. They also designed and engineered at the HexBug scale as they built slides, ziplines, elevators and much more for them to move around on.

To cap off the unit, the students had to build and demo their original ideas for events that might be included in a HexBug Olympics. They brainstormed ideas, narrowed their focus, developed a plan and iteratively refined and improved their creations with a variety of materials in an extended science class on Thursday.

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.