Build your own robot and a magical world in this after-school activity for grades 4-5. These fun little creatures can roam around, shake their heads and flap their wings, at the touch of a button.
Create your own artistic robot! Learn how to make your robot move in a variety of ways, as well as play sounds and light up, 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 takes place at the Lycée Français in Sausalito. We meet every Tuesday for 12 weeks, from 3:30 to 5pm, between September and December 2017.
Students develop 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 is for lower school children in grades 4 and 5 (ages 8-10). We expect between 6 and 10 students to participate in our afternoon class in Sausalito this fall.
Where and when is it?
This class takes place at Lycée Français in Sausalito, in the Innovation Lab (Room #340). The school entrance is 660 Coloma Street, Sausalito, CA 94945.
We meet 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 is 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 some of our first photos from this class.
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 will receive a robot kit, which they will learn to assemble, control and program.
For this class, we have 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 is similar to commercial kits, but with a lot more features at a lower cost. This robot kit will be 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)
We plan to use the school’s Macs to program the robots, using the Arduino software and a visual programming tool like Snap4Arduino. Arduino code will be shared with parents when class ends, if students want to continue to program their robot at home.
What do the robots look like?
We’re still creating our robots, but the photo above shows what they look like in early stages of development. Students designed their own characters from scratch during the first classes, and we then laser cut wooden figures based on their designs. In coming weeks, they will paint and decorate them. You can track our progress in our photo album.
Here 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 will the robot world look like?
We will invite students to create a magical world for their robots, as well as decorate it.
The world could be set in any location, as long as it has flat terrain that the robots can easily roam on. The mockup above shows what our robots might look like on Mars, for example.
Who are the teachers?
Multimedia innovator Fabrice Florin and software designer Edward Janne are teaching 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.