FINAL CHALLENGES

CCW Cohort Teachers, click on the link below to access editable worksheets and presentation slides.

Lesson Overview

Summary

This is a great conclusion to a unit about cell biology, genetic engineering, or cellular engineering. Students are asked to program a robot to solve a challenge mat modeled after a real world problem that might be solved by cellular engineering. Students are also asked to do background research about the biology that their challenge is modeling and present what they learned about its biological significance. They then also present a robotics presentation, including a demo of their completed program.

Big Idea(s)

Robots can serve as models for cellular engineering challenges.

Cellular engineering is poised to solve a variety of real world problems, related to both human health and the environment.

Flow charts are an effective way to diagram and present a program.

Both the robot and the program need to be engineered simultaneously to create an effective challenge solution.

Vocabulary words

Bioremediation

Microbial Biosensors

Immunoengineering

Targeted gene therapy

Vector

Materials
      • Lego Mindstorm EV3 robot – default assembly (E779, E780, E781, E782, E783, E784, E785) Follow the instructions found here to build https://education.lego.com/en-us/support/mindstorms-ev3/building-instructions#robot (color sensor forward, cuboid, driving base, gyro sensor, medium motor driving base, touch sensor driving base, ultrasonic sensor driving base. Note: EV3’s borrowed from the Resource Center will already be built in the default assembly and will be pre-downloaded with Mystery Program)
      • Lego Mindstrom extra parts, optional (E779a, E780a, E781a, E782a, E783a, E784a, E785a)
      • Final challenge mats (E788, E789, E790, E791)
      • Final Challenges rubric
      • Team shareout worksheet
      • Bioloical Significance Webquest: https://sites.google.com/view/ccwwebquest/home

Daly Ralson Resource Center:

Lego Mindstorm EV3 robot (E779, E780, E781, E782, E783, E784, E785)

Lego Mindstrom extra parts, optional (E779a, E780a, E781a, E782a, E783a, E784a, E785a)

Final challenge mats (E788, E789, E790, E791)

Grouping

Groups of 3-4 students

Timing

5 days

20 min – Intro

4 days  – Programming

1 hour – Biological Significance Presentations

1 hour – Robotics Presentations

Prerequisites for students

Students should have experience working with the EV3 robot and programming in Open Roberta. The programming module for this course is required so they are familiar with Open Roberta before starting this activity. The chemotaxis program activity is recommended as a pre-activity because it establishes scenario-based programming and flow charts as a way to organize programs and computational thinking.

 

The mystery program is helpful to do before this activity as student often use a variation on the mystery program to keep the robot on the challenge mat.

Learning goals/objectives for students
  • Develop an understanding of the biological significance of the chosen challenge mat
    • Understand what bioremediation is and how it can be used to clean up the environment
    • Understand what immunoengineering is and how it is applied as a treatment
    • Understand what targeted gene delivery is and when it is applied as a treatment
    • Understand what biosensors are and how they can be used to monitor the environment
  • Program in terms of “scenarios” and responses to those scenarios
  • Understand and apply the engineering design process of “design, build, test”.
  • Apply engineering problem solving to a programming challenge by identifying a problem and specifying the requirements needed for an authentic solution.
  • Apply programming knowledge to create a solution to a challenge mat from scratch.
  • Communicate a programming solution using flow charts.
Content background for instructor

These final challenge mats are based off of First LEGO League mats, where students are asked to solve a series of LEGO robotics challenges based (often loosely) on real world problems.  Solutions often require, not only complex programs, but well-built and designed robots.  For many of these challenges, using the default EV3 design will not work.  Student should be encouraged to rebuild their robots to fit the challenge.

Often robotics and programming go hand-in-hand. Without precise knowledge of how the robot is assembled, a programmer will not be able to create a successful program.  Moreover, clever robot design often makes programming easier (i.e. using more than one sensor, attaching a sensor in a location where it can sense a target region or object, but also the edge of the mat, etc.)

Getting ready

Place the challenge mats on the floor with plenty of space around each one to allow students to test their program.

Lesson Implementation/Outline

Introduction

(20 mins)

Tell the students they will be programming solutions of cellular engineering challenges using their robots. Walk them through each of the challenge mats and let them what each mat is modeling, and the objective, rules, and best practices.

Targeted Gene Therapy:

Models using a viral vector with a corrected gene to treat congenital genetic diseases by administering the corrected gene to the affected tissue.

   

Objective(s):

  • Identify the color of the therapeutic gene
  • Use the black line to move through the “body”
  • Find the target tissue area that matches the color of the therapeutic gene
  • Place the therapeutic gene in the target tissue area

Rules:

  • Robot must start in the “Research Laboratory” area
  • Robot must use line following to find the target tissue
  • Robot must be able to identify the color of the therapeutic gene (randomly selected by the instructor on the day of the demo)

Best Practices:

  • Dividing the program for this challenge into smaller pieces will help (i.e. sense color of vector, follow line, sense color of tissue, etc). Combine smaller programs to create working challenge solution

Bioremediation:

Models developing an engineered bacterium that can break down toxic chemicals like petroleum. Uses a synthetic compound to keep the organism alive that can be removed to kill off the engineered bacterium (kill switch).

 

Objective(s):

  • Identify the toxic chemical (red and green).
  • Break down the toxic chemical (separate red from green).
  • Turn off or leave the challenge mat soon after the synthetic compound (yellow) is removed.
  • Bonus: remove one half of the chemical (red or green) to prevent the toxic chemical from reforming.

Rules:

  • Robot must start in the “Research Laboratory” area
  • Robot must be able to breakdown the toxic chemical without any human help.
  • Robot must use the yellow synthetic compound to stay “on”. When it is removed, it needs to switch off.

Best Practices:

  • Dividing the program for this challenge into smaller pieces will help (i.e. sense the toxic chemical, move randomly around the mat, stay on the mat, etc). Combine smaller programs to create working challenge solution
  • This is a building heavy challenge. Groups will need to redesign their robot to successfully complete this challenge.

Immunoengineering:

Models a genetically engineered immune cell able to identify cancer cells within the body and differentiate them from healthy cells.

 

Objective(s):

  • Identify the cancer cell (engineered receptor)
  • Find the cancer cell and report its presence, do not report “healthy cells”
  • Bonus: remove all cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells (cells not the same color as the engineered receptor).

Rules:

  • Robot must start in the “Research Laboratory” area
  • Robot must be able to identify the color of the cancer cell (randomly selected by the instructor on the day of the demo)
  • Robot must be able to remove the cancer cell without any human help (bonus).
  • Robot must not remove any of the healthy, noncancerous cells.

Best Practices:

  • Dividing the program for this challenge into smaller pieces will help (i.e. sense color of the cancer cell, move randomly around the mat, stay inside the “body”, etc). Combine smaller programs to create working challenge solution
  • This is a building heavy challenge. Groups will need to redesign their robot to successfully complete this challenge.

Bacterial Biosensor:

Models a genetically engineered bacterium capable of detecting lead. The biosensor will test three water samples and report which water sample has the highest lead concentration.

 

Objective(s):

  • Count or sense the concentration or lead (red) in each water sample (black box)
  • Report which water sample has the highest concentration of lead

Rules:

  • Robot must start in the “Research Laboratory” area
  • Robot must be able to identify the water sample with the most lead using concentration of red dots only (red dots will be randomly placed by the instructor on the day of the demo)
  • Robot can either test all three samples and compare, or it can use a threshold reporter (i.e. if it notes the concentration matches the highest concentration expected, it can report out). There will always be one sample each with 10, 20, and 40 dots respectively.

Best Practices:

  • Dividing the program for this challenge into smaller pieces will help (i.e. sense color of the lead, count the lead, move from one water sample to the other, etc). Combine smaller programs to create working challenge solution
Activity

(5 days)

Allow the students ample time to program their robots on the challenge mats. Encourage them to write down scenarios that their robots will encounter, and build a flow chart of the program.

Have all groups do a programming share out. Use the program share out worksheet. Have every group member take notes on a general outline of their program so far, what is working, and what’s not.  Take one to two group members from each group and move them to another group. Each new hybrid group will discuss the programs from their original group. Often groups working on different challenges have novel ideas on how to solve issues for another challenge mat.

Checking for student understanding

Walk around the room and sit in with groups as they are programming to learn of any challenges they are having. These final challenges are more complex than the phototaxis and chemotaxis challenges. Often students get stuck because they want to create the whole program at once instead of breaking it down into smaller pieces.

If students are stuck, encourage them to focus on one piece (line following in the targeted gene therapy mat, for example) and then come back the piece of the program that is giving them the most trouble.

Often student run into trouble because they are resistant to rebuilding their robot to fit the challenge mat.  Encourage them to solve programming problems by rebuilding their robot (i.e. the color sensor has a very small range in which is works accurately. Using the same sensor to detect a bottle cap and the mat surface will likely cause errors. Specializing sensors (one for the mat, one for the bottle cap, will likely eliminate this issue).

Make sure students are using flow charts to communicate their ideas. Often experienced programmers will move ahead leaving inexperienced programmers behind and disengaged. Having the group write out a flow chart for their entire program on the board might identify areas that need work and help inexperienced programmers understand the program that has been completed so far.

Wrap-up/Closure

Use the website https://sites.google.com/view/ccwwebquest/home to help them develop their biological significance presentations. Have them present the biological significance presentations on day 3 along with a draft of their program.

Biological Significance Presentation Guidelines:

  • Define the problem and specify requirements (draft) (2 minutes)
  • Importance/Significance in biology, for health, or for the environment (3 minutes)
  • Current cellular engineering applications in the field (3 minutes)
  • Your group’s programming strategy (Same as person 1, if only 3 members in the group) (2 minutes)

Programming Presentation Guidelines:

  • Define problem and specify requirements (3 minutes)
  • Final program with flow chart (3 minutes)
  • Robot demonstration (6 minutes)
  • Challenges and lessons learned (3 minutes)

It is helpful to randomly assign presentation roles to make sure all group members learn all part of the challenge (i.e. inexperienced programmers do not over rely on the experienced programmers to explain the program in the presentation).

NGSS

Topics

All Mats

ETS1 Engineering Design

ETS2 Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society

 

Targeted Gene Therapy

Structure and Function

Inheritance and Variation of Traits

 

Bioremediation

Chemical Reactions

Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

 

Immunoengineering

Structure and Function

 

Bacterial Biosensors

Chemical Reactions

Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Performance Expectations

All Mats

HS-ETS1-1 Engineering Design

(Each challenge mat models a major health or environmental challenge. Student groups start their design by first defining the problem and specifying requirements, which is similar to developing criteria and constraints for their solution.)

HS-ETS1-2 Engineering Design

(In order to solve the challenge mat, student groups are encouraged to break down the problem into smaller, more manageable problems. Development of a flow chart helps with this breakdown and is required as part of the final presentation.)

HS-ETS1-3 Engineering Design

(As student groups develop their programs and robot designs, they must evaluate each “solution” based on their own group-identified criteria, to determine if it adequately solves their challenge. Students will ultimately need to make tradeoffs in their design to account for feasibility, availability of parts, and programming reliability.)

HS ETS1-4 Engineering Design

(Each challenge mat is a model of a complex real world problem. By solving that challenge, students are modeling the impact of that solution and whether it meets their design criteria.)

 

Targeted Gene Therapy

HS-LS1-1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

(Each disease represented in this challenge is a result of a genetic mutation that causes an alteration to the structure of a particular protein, altering its essential function.)

HS-LS3-2 Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

(Each disease represented in this challenge is a result of an inherited genetic variation, which may have resulted from viable errors during replication or mutations caused by environmental factors.)

 

Bioremediation

HS-PS1-6 Matter and its Interactions

(The toxic chemical (green and red bottle caps) may breakdown on its own into its harmless products, but the rate of production of these products would be greatly increased by adding an enzyme to act as a catalyst. When students design a robotic mechanisms to break apart the toxic chemical, this robotic mechanism is essentially a model of an enzyme carried by a bacterium. There are many enzyme designs that will work (some better than others) to break down the toxic chemical. But importantly, without the presence of the enzyme, presented by the bacterium, the reaction would not proceed fast enough to clean up the spill site.)

HS-LS2-7 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

(Bioremediation represents a solution that could reduce the impacts of human activities on the environment. However, there are risks to using engineered organisms for bioremediation. Students are challenged to develop a “kill switch” within their robot model as a way to control their creation in case of any unforeseen harmful effects to the environment.)

 

Immunoengineering

HS-LS1-1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

(The antigen (bottle cap) is detected by the robot’s receptor, which has a specialized structure used to carry out the essential function of an immune cell (one of the body’s specialized cells) to identify other antigens present on cancer cells.)

HS-LS1-2 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

(The immune system and the circulatory system interact to allow an immunoengineered cell to find and target cancer cells. The immune cell uses blood vessels to move within the body, and both are smaller parts of the larger hierarchical organization of the immune system and the circulatory system.)

 

Bacterial Biosensors

HS-PS1-5 Matter and its Interactions

(Students are challenged to develop a robot that can identify the highest concentration of lead particles (red dots). Students’ solutions will likely include a program that uses some timing or rate detection to compare one sample to another to determine the sample with the highest concentration.)

HS-LS2-7 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

(Biosensors could be used to monitor the impacts of human activity on water quality or other environmental markers. Students must design and refine their robot model of a bacterial biosensor given the constraints of the challenge mat.)

Disciplinary Core Ideas

All Mats

ETS1.A Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems

ETS1.B Developing Possible Solutions

ETS1.C Optimizing the Design Solution

ETS2.A Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology

(Students are required to research and present on the biology of their challenge before completing their engineered design. This emphasizes the importance of the scientific component of the challenge mat and demonstrates the interdependence of engineering and science disciplines.)

ETS2.B Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World

(Each challenge mat represents a real world problem. By developing a robot model of a cellular engineering solution, students are demonstrating the impact and influence of engineering, technology, and science on society and the natural world.)

 

Targeted Gene Therapy

HS LS1.A Structure and Function

HS LS3.A Inheritance of Traits

 

Bioremediation

HS-PS1.B Chemical Reactions

HS-LS2.C Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience

 

Immunoengineering

HS LS1.A Structure and Function

 

Bacterial Biosensors

HS-PS1.B Chemical Reactions

HS-LS2.C Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience

Science and Engineering Practices

Practice 1. Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Practice 2. Developing and Using Models

Practice 3. Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Practice 4. Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Practice 5. Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Practice 6. Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Practice 7. Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Practice 8. Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Cross-Cutting Concepts

Patterns

Cause and Effect

Systems and System Models

Structure and Function

Stability and Change