Writing and Robotics

Writing and Robotics is a week-long summer camp at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) run by the SELF Design Studio.  Writing and Robotics is an elective add-on experience for participants of the UNCG Young Writers’ Camp, which is a morning camp that spans a two week period in July.  In Young Writers’ Camp, students write and publish their own fiction or nonfiction work on the UNCG Young Writers’ Camp webpage.

Angles with Hummingbird

Teacher Note: This is a short introductory activity designed to introduce students to the servo motor. Students construct a large protractor and investigate how to write a program that moves the servo motor to different angles. To save time, you could do this activity as a demonstration or have students use a photocopied image of a protractor. However, having students create the protractor reinforces Common Core math standards for measuring and constructing angles (4.MD.C and 4.G.A).

Interactive Explorers

Students in grade five at Regency Park Elementary School in Plum, Pennsylvania, engaged in their first experience with Hummingbird Robotics kits while learning all about early European explorers in the Americas. Students used engineering, design, and programming to complete this task. Each group of students chose an explorer randomly, researched the explorer for key facts, wrote an autobiographical speech for the explorer to recite, and then created and coded their explorer to give the autobiographical information when an observer got close to it.

Energy Saving Prototypes

Grade 4 students at Saigon South International School learn about engineering, design, and programming within a fully integrated unit that focuses on coding for a purpose, energy, and service-based learning. Students investigate where energy is wasted in their lives and design prototypes to help them reduce energy waste. This project introduces students to the engineering and design cycle in the context of a service-based project.

Mythological Monster Mashup

Second graders at Kentucky Avenue School in Pittsburgh, PA, use the Hummingbird robotics kit to create their own versions of monsters from Greek and Roman myths. Aimee Defoe, their teacher, incorporates this project into a larger cross-curricular unit that also focuses on myths in language arts and the history of ancient Greece and Rome. Students work in pairs to design and build their robots using mainly repurposed materials that would otherwise be discarded, such as cardboard and scraps of cloth.

Hummingbird Creatures

In this project, students work in pairs to design and build a robotic creature. This project emphasizes planning. Students create detailed sketches that depict where the creature will incorporate robotic components. They also make lists of the items they will need and collect recycled materials to build their creature. As they build, students outline how they will program the creature in Snap!. To complete their projects, they focus on the process of testing and revision.

Art Bots

This resource pack uses the Hummingbird robotics kit, recycled materials, and craft materials to introduce students ages 8-10 to basic robotics and programming. Art, engineering, and electricity concepts are also explored. Students will learn how to creatively use servos, sensors, and LEDs along with programming basics as they make their robot creations come to life.

Simple drawing bots and circuit blocks may be used to further enhance the lesson.

For students with little to no prior programming skills

Drawing Angles with the Hummingbird

An understanding of angles is essential to using servo motors with the Hummingbird. Students will naturally need to measure and use angles as they construct projects using the kit. However, students can also use the Hummingbird with Scratch or Snap! to explicitly demonstrate their knowledge of acute or obtuse angles. An effective way to do this would be to challenge students to design an interactive way to present obtuse and acute angles. One of many possible solutions to this challenge is shown in the video below.

Illustration of Fraction Equivalence

This project was designed to investigate how the Hummingbird can be used by upper elementary students to increase and demonstrate their understanding of mathematical concepts. Fractions are an important math concept covered in grades 4 and 5, and an understanding of fraction equivalence is necessary to add and subtract fractions. With the Hummingbird, students can be challenged to create a dynamic physical model that explains fraction equivalence. The model shown below is just one example; students might come up with something totally different! 

Lifting a Heavy Load

This project is a challenge to your students - lift something heavy! We chose an object (a plastic dinosaur) that is too heavy to be lifted by a single motor. For reference, this dinosaur is about 230 g, and items about 160 g and lower (the other toys we tried) could be lifted by one servo motor.