2009-10 Activities

Meeting #1 – Building a "Vibrobot"
Sunday 12/20/2009, 3:30-5:00

In  this first meeting, we are going to empower kids to build something themselves, from scratch parts they might find around the house. Our first project will be to build "vibrobots", little robots that buzz and wobble around the floor. While simple, these robots show kids the basics of assembling a kit from a list of parts, how basic circuits go together, and how to solve problems during the assembly process.

The finished Vibrobot with LED eyes.

Meeting #2 – Sensing Touch
Sunday 1/10/2010, 3:30-5:00
We start off our second project by introducing ourselves and watching a video on the many aspects of robots and how they interact with their surroundings. Then, we dive right in and all work together to build our very own robots. Each child will get a Tamiya Robocraft series robot kit that we will assemble on the first night and get to keep. There are several types to choose from: a dog, kangaroo, beetle, rabbit and pig. Each kit has roughly the same number of parts and requires the same steps of assembly, and all teach us something about constructing robots. When our robots are all finished, we will set them loose on our robot obstacle course and see how they do.

Meeting #3 – Building With Circuits
Sunday 2/14/2010, 3:30-5:00
We learn about construction and programming of robots through the use of Elenco Snap Circuits, winner of Dr. Toy best 100 children products. Snap Circuits makes learning electronics easy. A colorful manual shows which circuits go together to build exciting projects such as radios, digital voice recorders, doorbells and even a working robot rover!


Meeting #4 – Underwater Mini ROV’s
Sunday 3/14/2010, 3:30-5:00
We begin our underwater robots project by starting construction of our mini ROV kits. Each kid will build their own mini ROV from plastic tubing and fittings. We will watch videos on underwater ROV’s and talk about some of the things we need to think about when making our ROV. We will test the kits at the end of the session in a big tub of water. Kids can take their ROV’s home and try them in a bucket or the bathtub.

Meeting #5 -Underwater Mini ROV’s
Sunday 4/11/2010, 3:30-5:00
We continue building our mini ROV kits and practice operating them by conducting small “missions” in a water tank. We will test to see how much we can lift with our ROV, and see who can maneuver their ROV through a simple obstacle. Kids will return their mini ROV kits at the end of the day.


Meeting #6 – ROV’s In the Pool
Sunday 5/9/2010, 3:30-5:00
We learn more about underwater robots by building some larger ROV’s kits that are made from plastic pieces of pipe, electric motors and wire. These kits are can dive deeper in a tank or pool than the mini ROV. Kids will pair up to build the kits and we will test them in the water at the Petaluma Swim Center.