Thursday, May 24, 2012

Teaching about ROBOTS!

I have a confession to make, I am slightly addicted to anything robots! I have quite the collection of robot stickers, toys, magnets, stuffed bots, robot books and am always on the look out for more robots. This being said, I decided that my culminating unit with my students would be robots. I am part way through it and I never could have imagined their excitement for this unit. I have kids coming up to me at recess telling me about robots they saw on TV or robot design ideas they thought of while eating breakfast; I love their enthusiasm and engagement!


Intro
To introduce the topic of ROBOTS I began with a discussion of "What is a robot?" I was amazed at the complexity even first graders could verbalize. I had a 6 year old tell me that "A robot is something that moves and needs either electricity or energy to do a job." Together my classes and I worked towards coming up with a common definition of what a robot is and I dispelled the myth that a robot has to have human-like physical characteristics. 


Robots of Today Video
Next I showed my classes (K-6th) a 10 minute web video by Ben Axelrod. It has lots of relevant and interesting information and we kept having to stop it so students could share their thoughts and make connections. There is about a 3 min section at the end of 4 robots dancing...I ended up fast forwarding through most of it to recoup time!


Here are some other great video resources on robots
Science Kids 
Clips from NOVA's The Great Robot Race
NDEP's A Flock of Robots
NASA's Video Podcasts on Robots
A HUGE Collection of Robotics Demos from The Google Self-Driving car to assembly line robots


Other online resources on Robots
Introduction to Robotics
Robot Activities
National Robotics Week (has activities to download and links to STEM projects)


Design/Build a Robot online
Widget's Build a Robot (Primary)
ABCya! Make a Robot (Primary)
Build a Robot (Intermediate)


Building Robots
I am also doing some robot building with my older classes. My students in grades 4-6 are making these little minibots:


I also have a LEGO Robotics set that was donated by a parent and have some students making an NXT Line Tracker.

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