Create your own artistic robot! Learn how to make your robot move in a variety of ways, using a programmable Arduino board. Decorate your animated character, give it a story, and create a magical world for it to live in. All materials are included in this course: you can take your robot home when the class ends.
This Maker Art class for grades 4-5 took place at the Lycée Français in Sausalito. We met every Tuesday for 12 weeks, from 3:30 to 5pm, between September and December 2017.
Students developed new skills in playful ways: science, technology, engineering, art and math skills (STEAM), as well as creativity, problem-solving and communication skills.
Who is it for?
This program was for lower school children in grades 4 and 5 (ages 8-10). Four students participated in our afternoon class in Sausalito in fall 2017.
Where and when is it?
This class took place at Lycée Français in Sausalito, in the Innovation Lab (Room #340). The school entrance is 660 Coloma Street, Sausalito, CA 94945.
We met every Tuesday for 12 weeks, from September 12 to December 5, 2017, from 3:30pm to 5:00pm, at the Lycée Français in Sausalito.
Here was our course schedule:
- Sep-12: Plan the robot world
- Sep-19: Learn about robots
- Sep-26: Build your robot 1
- Oct-3: Build your robot 2
- Oct-10: Program your robot 1
- Oct-17: Program your robot 2
- Oct-24: Break: No Class
- Oct-31:Program your robot 2
- Nov-7: Break: No Class
- Nov-14: Finish your robot
- Nov-21: Create the robot world
- Nov-28: Rehearse your show
- Dec-5: Shoot videos
- Dec-12: Show & Tell
Can we see pictures from the classes?
Here are photos from our last “show and tell” class, when students performed a little play with their robots, based on their own original story: Devil Bot stole a secret recipe from Chef Bot, who runs the bakery where all the food is prepared in Food Ville. Police Bot and Swat Bot then chased the devil and locked him up, restoring peace in their little world, with “pizza for all.”
Here are some photos from our first classes.
You can see more pictures in our photo album.
What are students learning?
Students are creating their own robot and interactive art, in a playful way that makes learning more fun. Working collaboratively, they make their bots move, bringing characters to life and interacting with others in their new ‘robot world.’
This unique combination of art and technology helps them develop a range of new skills:
- critical thinking and problem solving
- Arduino, robotics and programming
- science, technology, engineering, art and math skills (STEAM)
- creative expression, communication & collaboration skills
Do you also teach this class for adults?
Yes! We taught a Create a Robot class for adults and teens at Tam Makers in Mill Valley.
In just two evenings in September 2017, we showed students how to build their own artistic robot with Arduino, make it move around, shake its head and wave. And they got to take their animated creature home with you, to impress friends and family. 🙂 We may teach more adult classes in the future. Check out our classes page at Tam Makers.
What materials are included?
Each student received a robot kit, which they learned to assemble, control and program.
For this class, we created our own robot kit, using an Arduino Feather M0 for the robot, an Pro Micro for the remote, a custom chassis, plus three additional servos and more parts. Our robot kit was similar to commercial kits, but with a lot more features at a lower cost. This robot kit was decorated by the students to create an interesting animated character. Learn more about our robot kit in our student guide.
This robot kit supports these features:
• Roaming – the bot can move around under user control
• Moving – the bot can move some body parts (turn its head, wave its arms, using servos)
• Inputs – the bot has a variety of buttons (on/off button, buttons for different gestures, etc.)
• Remote – the bot can be controlled remotely (using a remote control or desktop app)
• Lights – the bot can have lights in its body (LEDs that blink, glow, or fade on and off)
• Sounds – the bot can play audio (using piezo buzzer to play simple beeps and tunes)
• Programming – the bot is easy to code (with visual programming tool like Snap4Arduino)
• Flexibility – the bot can be expanded (with extra parts to be ordered separately)
• Pricing – the bot is affordable (we’re aiming for a maximum of $75 per robot)
They programmed their robots with Snap4Arduino and made them move in different ways with servo motors. We used the school’s Macs to program the robots, using the Arduino software and Snap4Arduino, a visual programming tool. Arduino code was shared with parents when class ended, so they can help students to continue to program their robot at home.
What do the robots look like?
Students created some cool characters for their Robot World: Chef Bot, Devil Bot, Police Bot and Swat Bot
Each student received their own robot kit, which they learned to assemble, control and program. They built a chassis, wired up the Arduino electronics, made their own remote control, added a head and arms (laser cut based on their designs). Last but not least, they painted and decorated them to give them unique personalities. You can track their progress in our photo album.
The video above shows what our robots looked like in early stages of development. Our fun robots can roam around, shake their heads and flap their wings, at the touch of a button.
Below are a few photos of our first prototypes, made with laser-cut wood figures and servo motors (to see them in action, watch our video). We call them ‘Bambots’. This name is short for ‘Bamboodu Robot’: it is inspired by the fictional Bamboodu tribe we created for art projects like the Bamboodu Float and the Pataphysical Slot Machine.
Bambots like to shake their heads and flap their wings back and forth. The photos below show other prototypes of a Bambot Angel and an Bambot Dude, in different stages of construction.
For more pictures of this course, see our photo album.
What does the robot world look like?
We invited students to design a magical world for their robots, then build it and decorate it.
They imagined a future wonderland called FoodVille: a peaceful world filled with food, to insure a life of ‘everlasting fun.’ They created a colorful landscape centered around a volcano spilling out candy lava, with robot homes and a bright red soda fountain.
We asked students to decorate their robots so they looked like characters in that fantasy world. For a closer look, see our photo album for this course.
Who are the teachers?
Multimedia innovator Fabrice Florin and software designer Edward Janne taught this course.
Fabrice is an art maker and social entrepreneur who creates unique experiences to inform and engage communities through digital and physical media. He has led the development of many pioneering products in education, news and entertainment, working with innovators such as Apple, Macromedia and Wikipedia. He is now a teacher and artist at Tam Makers in Mill Valley, where he teaches maker art to adults and kids. Learn more at fabriceflorin.com .
Edward is a software developer and teacher at Tam Makers. He has an extensive background in interactive design and engineering. Prior to joining us, he was a technical animator at Bonfire Labs, a creative content agency. He also studied at the Academy of Art University and the University of San Francisco. Edward has taught several Maker Art classes with us, and will lead more classes for adults and teens at Tam Makers this fall.
How can I learn more?
For more info, email Fabrice at fabriceflorin-at-gmail-dot-com.