Recommended for grades 6–12.
The rotation of the liquid core of the Earth creates the Earth’s magnetic field. An ordinary compass will try to align itself with this field, showing us which direction is north. The Earth’s magnetic field, which ranges from 0.03 to 0.06 milliTesla (mT), is much weaker than the magnetic field near a normal permanent bar magnet. Ships, airplanes and hikers use compasses to determine the direction they are traveling. Birds, bats, sea turtles, and some fish are able to sense the Earth’s magnetic field and use it to help them find their way when they migrate long distances every year. In this project, you will build a robot that can determine which direction is north and then migrate in that direction.
In this project, you will design and build a mobile robot to replicate a migrating animal. Your robot should be able to start from any initial position, rotate around to orient itself in a northward-facing direction, and then move forward for approximately one meter.
Sensors and Equipment
This project/activity requires each of the following Vernier sensors and equipment (unless otherwise noted):
You will also need NXT Sensor Adapter and a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robotics system.
Download Experiment Preview
The student-version preview includes:
- Step-by-step instructions for computer-based data collection
- List of materials and equipment
The preview does not include essential teacher information, safety tips, or sample data. We strongly recommend that you purchase the book for classroom use.
See all standards correlations for STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT »