Crossing the Gap

| November 30, 2016

The article is reposted by the courtesy of Andrew Clark, and is adapted to an example on Idea Exchange Program. The original link:Legoengineering

I’m Kiki Zheng, a first year student in Master of Science program in Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. I’m designing a science course for children. Crossing the Gap is one of our robotic classes, and we want suggestions for course design.
1. Do you think this course is appropriate for ten-year-old students? ( suggestions from students majoring in early childhood education are welcomed)
2. What challenges do you think this robotic class is facing?( you can also give corresponding solutions to these challenges)
3. How to create online resources for this robotic class?

Crossing the Gap

Design and construct a car that can bridge a one foot gap without falling.

Crossing the Gap is a free-form robotics activity that requires a minimal amount of setup. It is an excellent choice for novices, but can also present a challenge to experienced students.



Build a robot that can safely cross the gap between two desks. The gap starts at 15 cm, and will increase by 5 cm each time your robot reaches the other side.


Two desks (or other movable raised surfaces) and a soft floor! A large ruler should be on hand to set tables to specific distances.

Design and Planning

Whilst students are not given instructions for this activity, a teacher can choose to pose the following questions to the help the design process:

  • Where is the robot’s tipping point?
  • Will the robot always need to support both ends during a crossing?
  • Will the robot always need at least one wheel in contact with a table?
  • How can the robot be designed to handle increasing gaps?
  • Will the robot be all-in-one unit, or will it use a tool?