Crossing the Gap

| November 29, 2016

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.

Basic lesson outline is as follows:

Age: 10 years old


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?


After providing the information above, let the students begin. Teachers should display a countdown so students are aware of the remaining challenge time.