In the Classroom

Science Discipline(s) • Physics/ Engineering • Art Topics • Circuits • Technology Activity Title Art Bot artboyyyMaterials Materials Needed: (Dollar Store) • Battery-Operated Electric Toothbrush • White paper • Scissors • Tape • Markers • Pool Noodle Optional Supplies: • Googley Eyes • Yarn • Pipe Cleaners

cupfellaMaterials Needed: • Plastic cup • Foam tape • Low-voltage DC motor • 2 AAA batteries • Wide rubber band • Electrical tape (black) • Hot-glue gun • Markers Procedure One approach to using this activity in the classroom is to start with an ArtBot that has been partially built and to have the kids explore how to make the motor spin and the cup vibrate. They could apply the Engineering Design Process to develop a prototype and then test their prototype. The motor alone will not cause the ArtBot to vibrate–the vibration occurs when a rotor is placed on the motor shaft that is unbalanced (not equally weighted on either side of the shaft).  Kids can explore how the nature of the rotor influences how much vibration they get.  Another variable that can be examined is the battery pack and how much voltage is delivered to the motor.  A low voltage will cause the motor to spin slower than a higher voltage. With an unbalanced rotor, a slow spinning motor will cause less vibration than a faster spinning motor. Have the kids experiment and come up with their best design. Since the objects placed on the rotor do have the tendency to fly off, it might be a good idea to have the kids wear some form of eye protection. How to Build an Art Bot: 1. Turn the cup upside down and layer foam tape on the bottom (which is now the top). 2. Stick the motor onto the tape. 3. Tape the batteries end to end, positive to negative, and stick them next to the motor. 4. Wrap a rubber band around the batteries so it covers the terminals—you’ll tuck the ends of the motor’s wires under the rubber band later. Make sure everything is secure. 5. Push a cork onto the rotating shaft of the motor. Off-center weight makes the bot shake, so hot-glue some craft supplies (beads, tongue depressor) onto the cork. 6. For the bot’s legs, tape at least three markers around the rim of the cup, points down. 7. Add googly eyes, pipe cleaners, bells—whatever pleases your small person. 8. Place your robot on its canvas, put the wire ends under the rubber band, and watch a masterpiece unfold. Questions
  • PK – grade 3 students
    • What is a robot?
    • Do you know how robots move?
    • What is an Art Bot?
  • Grade 4 – 6 students
    • How does a robot move?
    • What is in the Art Bot to make it move?
  • Middle school students
    • What makes up a circuit?
    • What does a motor contain?
  • College-level/ scientific descript
    • How does a circuit work?
    • Why does the Art Bot move the way it does?
  • General Questions
    • Did your Art Bot vibrate without a cork on the motor? Why do you think this happens?
    • What do you think you could do to make your Art Bot vibrate slower or faster?
Explanation An Art Bot is a motorized device that moves in strange ways and leaves a mark to trace its path. It’s made from simple materials and is based on the idea of motion created by a little motor.
  • PK – grade 3 students
    • A robot is a mechanical device that is capable of doing a variety of tasks.
    • The robot has energy from the motor that makes it move its parts
    • An Art Bot is a robot that can draw
  • Grade 4 – 6 students
    • The circuits in the robot connect to different parts and help it move when the motor is on.
    • The Art Bot moves by rotating coils of wire which are driven by the magnetic force exerted by a magnetic field on an electric current.
  • Middle school students
    • A circuit is a power source and conductors. (Battery is a power source and wires as the conductor)
    • A motor contains magnetic fields and winding currents to generate fore
  • College-level/ scientific descript
    • In physics a circuit works by Ohm’s Law. Ohm’s law deals with electric current and resisters. For electricity conductors, the electric current that usually flows through them is directly proportional to the voltage applied. The ratio of voltage to current is called the resistance. Therefore, if the ratio is constant over a wide range of voltages, then the material has “ohmic” material.
    • The Art Bot moves the way it does because it is mechanically engineered
  • General Answers
    • The motor needs an object on the rotor that spins off-center to create the forces that lead to the vibrations.
    • Possible changes include using a longer or heavier stick instead of the cork so that, as the motor rotates, the object moves off-center. A heavier weight near the end of a short Popsicle stick will result in a greater vibration that just the Popsicle stick alone. A higher voltage means more battery packs which will cause the motor to rotate faster as well resulting in a different vibration.