FASCINATING!!! This is how I feel as we go through projects after projects with Lego Education WeDo 2.0. And the Science projects are just getting more and more interesting and exciting!!!
Don’t you think so?
And I feel like my kids are getting as smart as a whip by the day especially my five year old.
He is getting more confident and adept in building models and creating programs on his own.
Moreover, the Science lessons they learned were equally precious. At their young age, they did not only learn from previous projects about building, coding, using the motors and sensors. Much more, they learned things like friction, force, importance of building robust structure and the earthquake simulator.
Check out our experience on the first four Guided Science Projects.
Here are the two of the last four Guided Science Projects:
For the Lego WeDo 2.0 Getting Started Projects, please check the articles Lego Education WeDo 2.0 Getting Started Projects 1 and Lego Education WeDo 2.0 Getting Started Projects 2.
Plants and Pollinators is one interesting topic to discuss with the kids. Despite knowing what plants are, they only have a slight idea regarding pollinators and the pollination process.
This project provided a wonderful opportunity to introduce to kids the beauty of the pollination process. Besides, this helped them appreciate the insect pollinators instead of being scared nor annoyed of them.
The Lego lesson plan on Plants and Pollinators involves in-depth discussion on the pollination process, the pollinators and the other factors that help flowering plants to reproduce.
One spring time Max and Mia got interested with the kind of relationship that the flowers have with their “admirers” i.e. the bees and butterflies.
Thus, their ever curious selves embark again on another journey towards the flower kingdom.
Although there are a number of topics worthy of discussion in this project, we need to simplify our lesson objectives.
🦋 Know what or who are pollinators.
🦋 Understand the process of pollination.
🦋 Understand the important reasons why pollination is important.
Before getting into the model building and coding, you can have a little discussion on what is pollination, its importance and the pollinators.
Pollination is the process of transferring the pollen from the male part to the female part of a flower. Fascinating as it is, it is important to point out to the kids that both these parts are existent in every flower. The male part is stamen and the female part is pistil.
- ABIOTIC. Pollination accomplished by nonliving pollinators such as the wind and water (includes rain).
2. BIOTIC. This is the process carried by living pollinators such as the insects and birds.
✨ INTERESTING FACT: Depending on the environmental condition of the plants. They can switch methods (from biotic to abiotic and vice versa) or use both methods of pollination.
※ To continue the reproduction of plants.
※ To help generate diversity and variation in plants.
※ To enable plants to thrive and live in different environments.
※ To produce sufficient food supply to the whole world.
The last point should give the kids the impression of how significant the pollinators are to the plants. In recent years, there had been a reported decline in pollinators. This caused an imbalance in the ecosystem. That means, the decline caused shortage on food supply to both humans and animals.
- Bees. They are considered the number one pollinator. According to Wikipedia, the different kinds of bees are the main pollinators. Honeybees and bumblebees have hind legs called “pollen basket’. As they move from flower to flower to gather nectar, they inadvertently carry the pollens with them.
- Wasps. There is a particular wasp specie called “pollen wasp”. They specifically gather pollen to nourish their young. So they are basically do pollination while gathering food for their babies.
- Moths and Butterflies. They are not extensive pollinators. However, that does not mean that they are less important pollinators. Some moths specializes in pollinating wild flowers such as orchids.
- Beetles. They are eat pollen, nectar and the flowers. Hence, they became significant in cross-pollination of some plants.
- Other Insects. There are still various kinds of insects that contribute to the pollination process of plants. Although, they are considered minor pollinators.
- Bats. They are also crucial pollinators to some tropical flowers.
- Birds. In particular, the hummingbirds and sunbirds contribute a lot in the pollination of flowers with deep throats.
- Humans. Apparently, man has contribution to the pollination process of plants. There was a time when the number of pollinators declined and caused shortage in crops produced. Hence, many farmers and gardeners discovered the necessity of pollination by their hand.
In order to reinforce understanding of the pollination process. The kids should do the following tasks.
🌻 Build a model that shows plants and pollinators.
🌻 Create a program that depicts the pollination process.
The model includes a plant with flowers and a bee. The bee is connected to the motor while the plant has the motion sensor.
The idea is that, when a bee sees a flower it will make a stop, get the nectar and simultaneously carry the pollen as it fly away and make a stop in another flower.
For that reason, the program should consist of not only the motor making the bee fly around the flower. Much more, it should have a motion sensor as an input that will make the bee stop on the flower.
A bee or a butterfly hovering over a flower is a fascinating scene. However, it is important for the kids to understand the roles of the pollinators such as the bees and the flowers of the plants.
After playing with the original model, I let my son build and make his own pollinator and flower.
Flood is second of the most common natural disaster. Though with different causes, in recent years, flood after flood had been the content of news reports.
Just earlier this year, a flood began on the 9th January 2021 in South Kalimantan (Indonesia). The report said that they did not experience flood before and it was their first big flood in fifty years. The flood also caused landslides. It resulted to 15 deaths and many are still reported missing.
Also, South Africa experienced days of flooding starting on the 23rd of January 2021. This resulted to at least 30 fatalities. Different parts of the country were hit by flooding due to the heavy rainfall brought by Tropical Cyclone Loise.
It is just the 2nd month of the year 2021, however, there are already a number of flooding that happened in different parts of the world.
Therefore, it is evident that this kind of disaster is so common and seemingly unavoidable. It is of great concern that we should think of solutions to at least prevent it and minimize its undesirable effects. Extreme flooding can be devastating and deadly.
Though kids maybe familiar of what flood is they may not exactly know what causes it, their effects, and prevention (if not solution).
- Heavy Rainfall. One of the most common factor that causes floods. Sometimes they are brought by tropical cyclones.
- Snowmelt. This is also one of the major cause of flooding in some countries. This commonly happens during the spring when majority of snow are melting. Coupled with rainfall this may result in heavy flooding, even landslides and debris flow.
- Storm Surge. This is one of the most dangerous source of flooding. Sometimes big storms causes an unusual increase in water level near the coasts. And it can be much more dangerous during a high tide since it will make the water much more higher.
- Tsunamis. Though this has seldom occurrence, it is also helpful to point out that whenever there is earthquake or volcano eruption. Tsunamis may follow which may bring in the most deadly floods.
- Improper Drain Management. Particularly in urban areas, proper drainage system or storm sewers are necessary. The paved roads and ground prevents the soil from absorbing (excess) water. If the drains are improperly managed, rainfalls will result in urban flooding.
- Loss of life.
- Serious injuries.
- Damage to building and other structures such as roads and bridges.
- Ruined power transmission.
- Waterborne diseases.
- Food shortages.
- Price hike.
- Economic hardship due to cost of rebuilding and restoring damaged.
In order to minimize the negative effects of flood, several flood control and management system were employed. So depending on the area and location, the government applies the appropriate method of managing the flood.
- Diversion Canals
- Groundwater Replenishment
- River Defenses
- Coastal Defenses
- Flood Barriers
Based on the Lego Education WeDo 2.0 lesson plan, in this project, the two kids Max and Mia are studying the different precipitation in their place. Along with that, they also want to know how they can prevent its impact in their place.
But before anything else, I think we need to explain to the kids what precipitation is and their impacts are in general.
Precipitation simply refers to the water that falls from the clouds to the ground such as rain and snow. The other forms of precipitation includes mist, fog, drizzling, sleet, ice pellets and hail.
Moreover, precipitation is one of the major processes of the water cycle. Generally, water cycle has four components: collection, evaporation, condensation and precipitation.
How does precipitation affect flooding?
Due to climate change, some regions are experiencing extreme precipitation in the form of heavy rainfall that results in flooding.
Global warming caused increased in water evaporation which means more precipitation. Hence, more precipitation, more rainfall more possibility of flooding.
💡 TIP: A brief discussion on climate change and global warming might help and encourage the kids more to actively participate in finding solutions to prevent flood and the other environmental problems that we are currently facing.
Although the topic of this project covers a wide and serious subject, we will limit our objectives to the ones stated in the Lego WeDo 2.0 lesson plans.
🚤 Understand precipitation
🚤 Understand the adverse effects of flooding
🚤 Discuss the different methods used to prevent or control floods
🚤 Think of another possible device to prevent or control flooding
🚤 Build a floodgate model
🚤 Create a program to open and close the floodgate
💡 What is a Floodgate?
A floodgate is gate to control water level and flow in rivers, streams, dams, flood barriers and reservoirs. This also acts as a defense from flood by preventing the flood from intruding into the hinterland.
First, we did a little experiment on water cycle to show the kids how precipitation occur. Through our experiment, a boiled water and a still boiling water, they noticed how fast evaporation occurred when there is constant heat.
Simultaneously, the experiment also gave them the idea how global warming contributed to extreme precipitation that often results in heavy rainfall and flooding.
After, the experiment, we drew a river where we placed the floodgate model. Then, I let them create the program that will open and close the floodgate.
In the sample program, if the image showed a precipitation then the gate will close to prevent the water flowing to the river serving as a kind of barrier. Then, if the image showed a clear weather, the gate will open allowing the water to flow freely.
Spice the Program Up with the Sensors
Although the subject of the project is significant and a pressing concern to our current earth situation, the model and the program are actually quite simple to do and follow.
This part is optional but I think the kids will be missing a lot of fun and learning if we will not spice up our program by adding the sensors. After all this technology-driven generation is all about automating things through sensors! So there is no reason not to try and apply it with our floodgate.
As the lesson plan suggests, we can choose to either use the tilt sensor or the motion sensor. And for another level of challenge, we can use both sensors. Then, we can also add some sound to act as a warning system. Sounds fun, right?
🚩 REMINDER: This part has no building instructions nor a sample program for students to follow. Hence, it is a great time to let the kids make their own model and program. and let their imagination be the limit!