Brush Bot Challenge

Project Overview: Kindergarten and first grade students at Lander Grinspoon Academy were introduced to the world of Engineering Design and Robotics through a Brush Bot Design Challenge. Students were given a selection of materials  and challenged to design a robot that moved and changed direction.

Subject: Engineering Design & Robotics

Grade Level: Kindergarten/First Grade

Project Goal: Introduce students to Engineering Design in the context of Robotics.

As a result of this project students will be able to: Understand that engineering design is a process and that robots have unique characteristics.

Project Resources: You will need at least one for each member of the class plus one for the teacher to use for demonstration purposes.

  1. Tooth Brush Heads
  2. Micro Vibrating Motors
  3. 2032 Watch Battery
  4. Package of Googly Eyes
  5. Package of Colored Pipe Cleaners
  6. Copper Conductive Foil Tape
  7. Double Sided Mounting Tape

Lesson Overview:
1. Show the sample robots to the students and them to identify the various characteristics of each robot? How are they similar, how are they different?
2. Pass the robots around and have the students examine the robots more closely?
3. Ask the students to identify characteristics that are common to each robot and list on whiteboard as they are identified.
4. Ask the students if they think they can build a robot?
5. Now Challenge the students to build a robot with the materials provided.
6. Pass out the materials and ask students to identify each item. Have them experiment with the materials such as touching the motor leads to the battery to make the motor move, etc.
9. Allow the students to continue to experiment, suggest options, such as attaching wires with the copper tape, putting the motor on the toothbrush etc.
10. Continue to allow the students to try different configurations with the materials and motors until the majority have a vibrating toothbrush as shown in the video.
11. To conclude, Ask the students if the brushbot is a true robot? Why or Why not? Discuss.

Teacher Preparation: Prior to beginning the lesson the teacher should have on hand at least  2 or more robots such as a Sphero or Dash and Dot, Lego Mindstorms, Lego WeDo or others. The robots should exhibit as least the following characteristics; movement, sensors, energy source, computer chip.

Lesson Resources:
History of Robots:

Make Magazine Brushbots:

PBS Design Squad Brushbots:

Science Buddies, Build A Bristolebot:

The Engineering Design Process:

Exploring Robots
Project Information
Michael Mino

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