Robotics on a Budget: The $40 Robot

BY Shelby Landsman 7/2/19, 6:38 AM

We’re all aware that schools are cracking down on budgets these days. But yet - they still want you to incorporate STEM into your classes. Well, how are you supposed to do that with little to no money!?

Here is a super easy (and REUSABLE) way to incorporate robotics into your current classroom.

Step 1: Order the following wishlist (one per robot). Don’t ask questions - just trust me on this one

If you already have micro:bits in your classroom, even better! Order everything else but those. You will also need 4 AA batteries for this project - we do sell those, but you also probably have some in your school too.

Step 2: Log into any web browser to makecode.mircobit.org, then install the moto:bit extension

Step 3: Send your students out to the recycling bin. (You may want to supervise them on this one).

Step 4: Head to the art department and pick up other arts and crafts ‘things’ - Popsicle sticks, glue guns, pom poms, pipe cleaners, whatever you can find - just grab it!

Step 5: Challenge your students to make a robot out of all recycled materials and have your students choreograph a dance to a song of their choice - or yours! Or you can set up an obstacle course and make them program their bot through it (you can even make obstacles out of recycled materials too!) Here is some sample code to help with the process.

downloadThere you have it - a $40 robot (well, technically it’s $41.29, but close enough, right?)- less than that if you have already have micro:bits - that can be used over and over!

If you want to get really fancy - you can even add in a remote control component. Just add in the SparkFun gamer:bit and another micro:bit to create a control for your robot using the radio function on the micro:bit. You can check out the tutorial for that here.

Talk about being the coolest teacher ever!

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