Introduction To Quirkbot: Robot Race

Author
Kristofer @ Strawbees

Introduction to Quirkbot: Build your first moving robotic creature and get familiar with the Quirkbot, Backpack and Servo Motor.

Engineering
Programming
Technology

Duration

2 x 45-minute Periods

Class Size

30 Students

Group Size

2-3 Students

Overview

In this lesson the student will build their first moving robot with Strawbees and Quirkbot. They will learn to translate the motion of a motor to a funny, useful or meaningful movement. They will also familiarise themselves with the materials like the Quirkbot, the Backpack and the Servo motor.

Materials

Straws
200
1-Legged Strawbee
100
2-Legged Strawbee
100
3-Legged Strawbee
100
5-Legged Strawbee
100
Quirkbot
10
Quirkbot Servo Backpacks
10
Servo Motor
10
Servo Motor Mount
20
2-Legged Strawbees Servo Motor Arm
20
Scissors
10

Modifications

Lesson Split Time

Depending on needs, this lesson can be split and taught in two 45-minute periods. With a 15 minute break seperating two sessions for a break or clean-up. An additional 15 minute session at the end is for clean-up.

Learning Objectives

Familiarity with the basic components Quirkbot, Backpack and Servo Motor.

Explore basic ways to connect the Quirkbot and Servo Motor to Strawbees structures.

Explore basic ways to make a structure move and come up with creative ways to interpret and use the movement.

Collaborate as a team to build on the ideas of others and tell a story together about what is created.

Practice practical problem solving by testing different ways to build and modify their robot.

Reflect on what robots are and how they can be useful or entertaining for individuals and society.

Preparation

1

Preferrably the teacher have tried building some basic robots or inventions with Strawbees/Quirkbot either by following our online tutorial or by participating in a teacher training workshop before the lesson.

2

Make sure all the Quirkbots are fully charged and that they are running the factory preset code. Do only laste step here.

3

Make sure the Servo Motor Mounts and 2-Legged Strawbees Servo Motor Arms are attached to the Servo Motors.

4

Have a set of scissors handy for students for trimming and sculpting structures.

5

Place containers of materials to the side of the room until students are ready to build.

6

Have additional small caddies or bowls around the room on desks or the floor to collect cut or broken straws pieces to save for future projects and help with cleanup.

Lesson Steps

1. What are robots?
Duration:
10 minutes

Asking the Question: What are robots, and where are they in society? Discuss some examples from for instance: industry, home, manufacturing, social, software bots.

2. Quirkbot anatomy
Duration:
5 minutes

The Quirkbot has many opportunities and features and all of them don't need to be understood and introduced directly. The features that can preferably be presented at the start of the lesson is the following:

  • The Quirkbot is shaped like a character with body parts like: arms, legs eyes and a horn. (That all have different functions)
  • The Arms legs and horn also works like Strawbees connectors with straws.
  • Show how to use the power switch.
  • Show how to attach the Backpack.
  • Show how to attach the Servo Motor to the backpack.
  • The Quirkbot can be programmed and it already have a program in it now.
  • That you can get two different movements by connecting the motor to 1 or 2 and that this is because of the program inside it.
3. Free building with movement
Duration:
20 minutes

Divide the class into groups of 2 or 3 and give out the Strawbees materials including 1 Quirkbot with backpack and motor per group.

The task now is to freely explore and build. There are some key tips and tricks that can be help during this step:

  • Try to use the quirkbot as a 5-legged Strawbee
  • Explore different ways to extend the movement of the motor
  • Try making a mechanism that changes the movement of of the straw connected to the motor arm
  • Why does the motor needs to be connected both to the motor mount and the motor arm to make a larger structure move efficiently?
  • Try starting by building a tetraeder and change the length of the straws to make a movable shape.
  • What happens if you turn your shape upside down or change the balance.
4. Show examples
Duration:
5 minutes

This step is not mandatory. As inspiration you can show pictures movies or previously built creations as inspiration for the next step. #quirkbot on Instagram

5. Introduce challenge: Robotic Creature
Duration:
5 minutes

Challenge is to build a Moving Creature or Robot and:

  • Give it a name
  • Describe its character or function

Remeber that buiding anything that moves can be a robot! Encurage the students to start with what was built during the free buidning.

Use the same groups as before.

6. Building
Duration:
35 minutes

This part can preferably be extended. The longer the process goes on the more interesting things happens.

Trust the process!

For groups that are struggling the same key tips that are under Free building are useful here.

7. Show and tell

Give each group one minute to show their creation and tell the name of it.

Vocabulary

Robot
A robot is a machine controlled by a programmable computer that can carrying out complex actions automatically.
Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
Is a very common way to manufacture electronics by mounting the components to a glass-fiber and cupper laminate. The Quirkbot and Backpack are PCBs
Servo Motor
A motor with a built in sensor for position feedback that makes it possible to precisely control the angle of the shaft.
Program
A computer program is a collection of instructions that performs a specific task when executed by a computer.

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