ART BOTS: CREATING ART WITH SIMPLE MACHINES
WHAT IS IT? WHY DID WE DO IT?
Now that our students were facile with using a motor as part of building a device, we decided it was time to wander into the world of simple robots and see how far our students could build off the motor concept. We presented this challenge by stating that the ES secretaries needed the third graders to produce an artistic mural for the ES foyer. Then we introduced the concept of the art bot. Mike Moody, our design tech ally, had mocked up a model and gave a demo. From the moment they saw it work, they were hooked.
The new component we had to introduce was the idea of adding a weight, or a washer, to one side of the bot to create the instability that causes the bot literally jump in circles on the paper. We sourced this activity with our usual array of building materials including paper cups and plates. We also had a variety of markers on hand.
The biggest challenge for the students was figuring out how to attach the markers evenly so all of their points were simultaneously in contact with the paper surface. It was also a challenge to attach the motor components in a way that let the art bot be a free drawing "hands off" device. Controlling the power of the vibration was another interesting facet of the experience; some students designed art bots that drew in slow methodic circles while others built art bots that functioned like Spirograph on steroids!
Finally, we asked the children to reflect on their experience of working in a team and building the ArtBot. They used Doodlecast Pro to capture their thinking.