Red Rover Mars Sites - Lego Dacta

Subject: Red Rover Mars Sites - Lego Dacta
Date: Sat, 17 Aug 1996 23:24:42 -0400

First, here's the 800# for Lego Dacta - 800-527-8339

Secondly, I don't believe the Mars Site comes with any Lego Dacta *building*
material - just the cables and camera.  I looked at the red and white flyer
distributed and it says "Mars Sites will need to purchase Lego Dacta

When I did the Red Rover project last year, I used the following types of

       Serial Interface Box (sold separately for $227)
       Seriel Cables (Sold separately for $26)
       Software (sold separately for $82)
       Lego Dacta Building Set #9702 (sold separately for $69)
       Curriculum materials (sold separately for $32)

Now this all comes in a Starter Pack for $475 (which I believe I saw that
someone had already ordered - Tim or Charles - It also includes an angle and
light sensor)  I had a group of 30 students and broke them up into 7 groups.
 Fortunately, we had some funds last year, so I ordered 6 extra Sets #9702
for $69.00 a piece.  To build a proper rover that goes forwards, backwards
and also turns, you need 2 motors per rover (the set comes with 1), as well
as some extra large gears (not enough in the set) and some larger tires (not
in the set).  I ordered these all from an accessory page in the catalog for
smaller dollars ($14 for the motor, $6 for each pack of gears, etc.) . 

Charles asked earlier how to spread the activities around in a large group.
 If you could afford a couple extra sets and accessories, you could have
several groups work on rovers; others could be in charge of the researching
Mars and reporting to the group its environmental features; this would
prepare the other groups for the building of the Mars site.  If you have a
multi-media program (Hyperstudio for example), some could be doing projects
on the mission to mars, or simulating the rover activity, or the orbit, etc.
 Still others could be involved in linking up with and exploring other
existing Mars sites (probably most everyone will not be up and running right
away - I know my own will be revamped.  However, there might be several that
were almost going at the end of last year which will be ready to go early -
my site, Sheri Klug (PTK) in Idaho, Joy Selberg in Utah - Normal Barnes (PTK)
in Missouri was completely up last year).  Each group might pick a site and
completely explore it over a period of time and create a realistic map based
on their research. 

If you call Lego Dacta for a catalog, ask for the Technology, Science and
Math Products.  This Starter Pack also has some very good Lessons (I
recommend the 1st four) that actually set the students down at the computer
with simply the motor and interface box and walk them through some
experiments with the Lego programming language.  They also work with the
sound element and the light (not needed for the rover, but gives them more
programming practice).  These exercises are excellent for giving them the
understanding of exactly how the moving elements work so when it does come
time for building the rover, the really understand it.  

By the way, I did not start my students with the task of building the
"ultimate" rover.  First I gave them free rein in trying the build something
with 4 wheels that simply moved. Then I had them try to slow it down with
gears.  It wasn't until they had alot of trial and error that I sat down with
them and demonstrated how the gear train could work and how they could get it
to turn.  The 2 motors are essential for its ability to turn.  We used a gear
train of 3 sets of gears on each side, smaller to larger for torque.  I would
be happy to share our rover design as soon as anyone would like.

Hope some of this might help.  Hang in there.  I felt completely overwhelmed
at the beginning of the Red Rover project.  I literally stayed one step ahead
of my students every step of the way.  When I could see the light at the end
of the tunnel (right before we actually went on-line), I was thrilled.
 Anyone out there can do it.  Having support from different areas will get
you through.  Once you get close to getting ready to go on-online with it,
don't hesitate to use the Planetary Society (George Powell) for help.  He was
there 100% of the time when I needed help, and he will be there for you too.

Theresa Hall