In this activity, students design and build electric toy Rovers that run on monorail tracks.
It can be set up for learning about real geography and cultures, or for a creative experience where students invent a new land. The Rover challenge is also an engaging way to practice the Engineering Design Process on a flexible challenge while learning 3D modeling on Tinkercad.
The Rover is a small vehicle with a base and four pins to guide it on a monorail track. It uses hobby gear-motors and wheels that are easy to find online, reasonably priced, and reusable. Shaft extensions for the motors can be 3-D printed from the Tinkercad files linked in this lesson. The Monorail track is made from an inexpensive plastic electrical conduit that is available at hardware stores or online. Several track challenges are provided in this lesson plan. Students design and build the Rover and/or the Track, creating track features that depict the area they are exploring and adaptations to the Rover that help it perform on the journey.