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Correlating Robotics to the Human Nervous System

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Keywords: Nervous System, Robotics
Subject(s): Life Science, Robotics
Grades 7 through 9
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
View Full Text of Standards
School: Holy Name School, Ebensburg, PA
Planned By: Cathleen Lykens
Original Author: Cathleen Lykens, Ebensburg
Correlating Robotics to the Human Nervous System


The student will be able to:

Analyze the capacity and function of a Cubelet robotic block.

Design a solution to a problem or task within a cooperative group.

Apply and correlate the functions of robotic blocks to the human nervous system.


NGSS MS-LS1-3.Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

NGSS MS-LS1-8.Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.

NGSS MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

NGSS MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.B Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

Launch/Engaging Focus: Day 1

The teacher will establish anticipatory set--display Cubelets. Inform students that their initial task is to determine the function of the individual Cubelets that they are given. Once they have determined the functions, each student will write a post-it note listing the blocks capabilities.


The teacher will post descriptions of tasks that can only be accomplished if at least three of the Cubelets are linked together. Students then place their post-it notes on the task that they think their Cubelet is best qualified to assist in completing successfully. The teacher will create groups based on the descriptions the students provided on their Post-it notes.

Once the cooperative groups are formed, students have 10 minutes to connect their blocks and tweak the design to successfully accomplish the task. After they have completed the task, students will complete an "Inking of the Thinking" writing assignment listing the following: 1. Was the task successfully accomplished? Why or why not? 2. What role did his or her Cubelet play in accomplishing the task? 3. Could the task be accomplished with other blocks? What features must those alternate blocks have and why.

Each team will present their Cubelet robot to the class, define the task explain what was successful and what would be needed to increase success.

Correlate and apply:

Pose the following statement--How does the function of your robot relate to what you know of the human nervous system?

Allow time for the teams to discuss the question and brainstorm possible answers. Ask teams to Think--Pair--Share their ideas then list their answers on chart paper.

Day 2:

Use the previous day's discussion to create T-chart notes comparing the Cubelets system to the nervous system

Each Cublet Block is like a Neuron

The human nervous system is composed of three distinct types of neurons--sensory neurons, associative neurons and motor neurons. These specialized nerve cells correlate to the three categories of Cubelets--Sense, Think and Action

Correlate specialized Cubelet sensory blocks to the five senses.


Each student will complete a Post-it note description of his/her Cubelet and an "Inking of the Thinking" writing assignment. Cooperative groups will be informally assessed. The teacher will circulate during notetaking to assess student record of notes. On a post-test of the Human Nervous system, students will be asked to relate their experiences with Cubelets to the function of the nervous system components.


Cubelet robotics packages, Whiteboard and PowerPoint notes on the Human nervous system.


Day one of this lesson could also be used to provide anticipatory set for a lesson in Mutualism and Symbiotic relationships

MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Day one of this lesson could also be used to provide anticipatory set for a lesson in Mutualism and Symbiotic relationships

MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.

Materials: Integrating Technology, Networked Projectors, Whiteboards
Other Items: 5 Cubelets SIX Kit, $129.95 each, total of $649.75