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Robotics Reading Hour - Robot Dog

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Keywords: robotics, reading, lego, story, robot
Subject(s): Reading, English/Language Arts, Science, Drama, Math, Physics
Grades 9 through 12
School: Tehachapi High School, Tehachapi, CA
Planned By: Danielle Evansic
Original Author: Danielle Evansic, Tehachapi
Prior to implementing this lesson plan, the high school students build and program a LEGO Mindstorms Robotic Dog. This is a several class-period project during which the high school students are learning about programming, design and build, electronics, and working as a team.

On the day of the lesson, the teacher welcomes younger students to the class and directs them into story time reading seating. Teacher then welcomes the younger students to the Robotics Reading Hour and begins by explaining what a robot is and where they may have seen robots already in their lives. Teacher should interact with the audience, asking them when they think they've seen a robot, do they have any robots at home, how would they know if they did see a robot? The teacher should then allow the audience to ask a few questions and then transition into story time.

The teacher will now introduce the high-school students and turns the floor over to them. The high-school students will then be expected to introduce the story "Robot Dog," by Mark Oliver, by asking who in the audience has a dog, have they ever heard of a robot dog, and would robot dogs have feelings too? They can then transition into "This is the story of a robot dog named...." and give a short synopsis of the story. After asking whether the audience wants to hear the story, the high school students will read the story aloud, with theatrics and emphasis as necessary.

Once the story is over, high school students will ask if the audience liked the story and then ask if they'd like to meet a real robot dog. At this point, they introduce the LEGO Minstorms robot dog, which has sensors for navigating the room and can be walked with or without a leash. The robotic dog is allowed to walk through the audience and interact with them while the high-school students answer questions. This continues until the end of the reading hour.

At the end of the session, the teacher will close the reading hour by enforcing the need for the robot dog to take a nap and put the robot dog away while the high-school students continue to answer any lingering questions from audience members.
This lesson plan is intended to teach high-school students how to interact with younger children, reading to them, answering questions, controlling a room, and engaging their attention through dramatic story telling. It also complements our mission statement, which includes promoting technology amongst younger children.
Audience members could be asked to envision what it would be like to have robotic pets, what would be the good and the bad results of having a robot as a pet.

High schoolers could be tasked with developing a second dog and programming the two robotic dogs to interact. They could also be tasked with organizing a small group activity for the audience members that involved building a small robot.
Materials: Computer Accessories, Integrating Technology
Other Items: 1 LEGO Mindstorms Education NXT Base Set, $279.95 each, total of $279.95
1 LEGO Education Resource Set, $79.95 each, total of $79.95
1 Robot Dog by Mark Oliver, $16.00 each, total of $16.00