Buildologie Bulletin

December 2018


All 5 fifth-grade classes at Ross have now had their winter showcases, in which students answered Benchmark Unit 3's Essential Question, "How do we decide which resources we should develop?" by choosing a kind of food and studying its journey from ground to table.

They tied in their Buildologie learning by programming the robots they built to carry out a series of 5 food-related missions created by FIRST LEGO League, a national competition.

At the showcase, teams presenting their findings on the food they researched, then chose 1 mission to demonstrate with their robot.

We hope you were able to attend a showcase. If not, keep an eye out for our spring showcase schedule! In the meantime, check out the videos below.


In this mission, teams had to send their robot out from Base to collect the fish and bring them back. Initially, they were supposed to leave the baby fish (yellow and red) behind to represent sustainability, but we found that made the mission, which was meant for high schoolers, a bit too difficult for 5th graders.

Distant Travel

This deceptively simple mission was in actuality very tricky for our students! Food often must travel from the location where it's produced to where it is distributed and consumed, but there are obstacles like shelf life, fragility, etc. To represent those obstacles, the robot must cross to the far wall of the table. The tricky thing is, there are lots of things to run into along the way! That brown fish was especially problematic for our teams. Look at the perseverance to get it right even at the showcase!

Corn Harvest

In this mission, the robot must maneuver perfectly over to the red corn combine without hitting the truck or animal corral, then push the combine to release the corn. The robot must catch the corn and bring at least one cob back to base. You'll notice, the students had to engineer a special basket for the front of their robot.

Pest Removal

It's important to protect food from pests who might eat it or contaminate it. This mission reflects that concept by requiring the robot to "catch" a rat and bring it back to base. The robot must go to the mechanism and push it hard enough to tip it, but not so hard that the rat gets flung. The students figured out they should program the robot to wait a few seconds to ensure the rat has time to slide down the ramp. This was a VERY challenging mission - you can hear our excitement when the team below is successful.

Pollution Control

Pollution is an ongoing issue, both on the land and sea. In the videos above, you may have noticed the blue and yellow balls the robots knocked over while doing other missions. Those represent pollution in the water and on the land, respectively. It's important for industries to actively combat pollution while they are carrying out their tasks; for this reason, our students strove to knock the pollution balls off of their stands during other missions.

What's Next?

When students get back from break, they'll learn how to add sensors to allow for more automation of their robots. Then, they'll jump into their next set of missions: Hydrodynamics!

Heather will continue to improve curriculum, support teachers with integration, support mentors with teaching skills, and plan our Play|Code|Compete competitions.

Created by Heather Boling

Heather is AESD's Bytes & Bots Digital Learning Coach, supporting Codologie at Ross, Stoddard, Ponderosa, and Jefferson Elementary Schools and Buildologie at Ross. She writes curriculum, coaches the Bytes & Bots mentors, and supports teachers in a variety of ways.