Crafts · Tot School

The robots have invaded! Our Tot School Unit Study

RobotsCover

We’ve been super busy around here lately getting ready for a few family trips we have planned soon (yay!), but I still wanted to carve out some time for a little learning fun with M.  I think M has been struggling a bit lately between being exhausted from traveling and being sad that two of her best friends moved away this week.  It was really important that I put down the ever-growing to-do lists and focus on her.  We had so much fun in the world of robots!

Our Green Kid Crafts box was the main source of inspiration.  It provided everything we needed for three awesome science projects.  We went through some robot basics, explaining that its “brain” is run by a computer and it can complete tasks much like a human.  She wasn’t too interested in the details though as she cut me off saying, “yeah but when can we MAKE ONE!”  So we did.

First up was MagnetBot, made from a metal tin and decorated with stickers and popsicle stick arms.  This was my favorite project since it introduced the concept of magnetic force in such a fun way.  Once the robot was created, we made him dance!  To do this, took a piece of cardboard and stood him up on top.  Then we took a strong magnet and placed it underneath the robot and cardboard.  As we moved the magnet around, the robot moved with it, essentially dancing!

Robots3While the craft box came with mazes to complete with your robot, M was pretty happy with the dancing and felt no need to go further.  The fun thing about MagnetBot is that once we were done, we stored the magnet inside the tin and he became a magnet himself.  He’s been pretty sneaky too – I have found him on the side of the refrigerator, on the back of our kitchen chairs and on the dishwasher!

Dancing!
Dancing!

Next we made GlideBot, a robot made out of recycled materials (cardboard box, strong, straws, stickers, beads).  We used old cardboard to cut out a robot head, body, two arms and two legs.  Then we attached them all using brads (allowing our robot to move his arms and legs around) and decorated with stickers.  On the back of the robot, we taped two short pieces of straw and threaded the string through the straws creating a loop  to hang from.  The beads were tied to the bottom of the string to prevent it from falling off.

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GlideBot under construction

Using the suction cup provided in our craft box, we hung GlideBot on a glass door and watched him move around as we pulled the strings up and away from the robot.  Honest, I wasn’t impressed with this one as much as the other projects (the robot didn’t seem to move around as easily as indicated) but M thought it was hilarious and he is still hanging on our door for entertainment.

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The last project in the box was ArtBot, a moving robot with markers for legs who created his own art work.  The robot was made with a plastic cup and three markers taped to the sides.  To bring him to life, we used a Hexbug Nano robot that was included in the box.

*This was a perfect example of why I think Green Kid Craft is a worthwhile investment each month.  If I had the time to plan out each theme, I could probably recreate most of the projects myself using household items or easily purchased craft supplies.  However, I’ve never even heard of a Hexbug Nano robot, let alone how to incorporate it into our work.  For the amount of preparation done for me, this monthly service is well worth it.  It also gives us the inspiration for additional work! 

Anyways, back to our project.  We lined a box with blank paper then turned the Hexbug on and put him underneath the plastic cup.  It (slowly) moved around and started drawing a picture of squiggly lines and circles.  I thought this was pretty cool but it does take awhile to see the results.  M really liked watching it go but quickly got tired waiting for him “to finish” the picture.

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Watching and waiting
ArtBot's masterpiece
ArtBot’s masterpiece

She has a lot more fun once we took the plastic up off and simply watched the robot move around.  She even opened a corner of the box to see if he would find his way out (he did!).  Since watching the robot in action was so much fun, we took out our blocks and made him a habitat to explore.

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Besides our science projects, we also incorporated robots into our reading.  I had requested a few robot-themed titles from our library once I knew the theme of the box.  These were the biggest hits in our house:

index

Me and My Robot by Tracey West – This is a lighthearted story about a robot helping to find a missing cat.  It also explores the concept of attributes and how we describe something new to someone.

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The Robot and the Bluebird by David Lucas – This is a uplifting story about a lonely robot who finds an unlikely friend in a bluebird trying to fly south for warmer weather.

For an art project, we used Legos and Stamp Ink to create our own robots.  M always loves when I take out the ink pad!

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Finally, since M doesn’t consider anything learning worthy unless it involves some worksheets, she worked on a handful of robot themed from Homeschool Creations.  She worked on size sorting, graphing and shape matching.

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Matching robots by shape
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Our favorite, the Purple Robot, was the first to 10!
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Sorting robots into small, medium and large

 

We had a lot of fun with robots this week and now it’s on to the next adventure!

For other tot school ideas, check out 1+1+1=1.

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