A Glimpse into GRASP Research: Legged Locomotion

Featuring Abriana Stewart-Height

Video Version:


Bio-Inspiration – “Using phenomena in biology to stimulate research in non-biological science and technology” – George M. Whitesides

Gaits – “Gait is the pattern of movement of the limbs of animals, including humans, during locomotion” – Wikipedia

Motors – “Motors are electromagnetic devices that use the interaction of magnetic fields and conductors to convert electrical energy to mechanical energy for rotation.” – SeeedStudio

Degrees of Freedom – “Degrees of freedom are specific, defined modes in which a mechanical device or system can move. The number of degrees of freedom is equal to the total number of independent displacements or aspects of motion.” – TechTarget

Torque – “Torque is a measure of the force that can cause an object to rotate about an axis. Just as force is what causes an object to accelerate in linear kinematics, torque is what causes an object to acquire angular acceleration.” – Khan Academy

NameGrade RangeResourcesDescription
Energy and a pogo stick9-12Pogo stickStudents learn about the conservation of energy using a pogo stick
Gait Analysis11-12Computer accessStudents investigate human gaits and develop a mathematical model
How mimicking nature inspires new inventions9-12$0Students use biology to develop new solutions to problems in their schools or community – from PBS
Get in Gear6-8Requires LEGO EV3Students investigate gear ratios and power distribution through LEGO gears and motors
Mountain Rescue3-5$3/groupStudents simulate a search and rescue operation
Mountain Rescue6-8$2/groupStudents simulate a search and rescue operation
Curriculum Connections
Math (Common Core)Science (NGSS)
HSG.MG.A.3Apply geometric methods to solve design problems (e.g., designing an object or structure to satisfy physical constraints or minimize cost; working with typographic grid systems based on ratios).HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, HS-ETS1-3Engineering Design
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.BF.B.4Find inverse functions.MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3Engineering Design
MS-LS3-1Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function.
MS-PS2-2Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
HS-LS1-2Develop and use a model based on evidence to illustrate the relationships between systems or between components of a system.
 the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.
HS-PS2-1Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration.