Many of my students are preparing for our school science fair right now. This got me thinking about using Dash to practice the scientific method.
During the Hour of Code week, we noticed the speed seem to change how dash moved through our tape maze. Dash seemed to move different distances. I decided the distance Dash travels at various speeds would be a perfect thing for my students to put to the test using the scientific method.
We discussed what the variables in the experiment could be (speed or distance) and decided to use speed.
Next, we talked about writing a hypothesis for the experiment. For example: If Dash is set to very fast, then the distance traveled will stay the same. Then, each group spent some time collaborating and writing.
Each group was given a recording sheet, clipboard, pencil, flexible tape measure, pushpin, iPad, and Dash.
Each group selected a consistent number of steps for Dash to move. We aslo talked about running three tests for each speed.
I had the kids pin the tape measure to the floor for ease of measuring. We also talked about placing Dash in the exact same starting spot for each test. We already had tape on the floor for group areas that worked nicely.
The kids really go into doing the tests and recording their findings. Things generally went smoothly, until the kids tired the very slow speed. Dash went 4-5 times farther and often curved while driving at that speed. This made measuring very difficult!
We decided to move to the hallway and see if we could get an accurate measurement. We had fun running the trial several times as a group with a couple different robots. We never could get a straight enough trial to measure it!
Even though most of the predictions didn’t match the results, the kids learned so much about experiments and testing ideas.
I was thinking it would be really cool to collect data from several different schools and have the kids compare. If you would have any interest in doing this, please leave a comment on this blog or tweet me @fabprab!