Webinars and More on Robotics

Just found this site which may be of interest to others:


In the teacher resource section, there are lesson plans including one on  measuring the capacity of a robotic arm.  Check out  the "Profiles in Curiosity" section which features famous innovators. You can also sign up for updates and register for webinars. The Thursday, November 3, 2011, Thinkers of Tomorrow webinar series at 1PM is posted as  a sesion for teachers and students with a robotics expert. 

Robot Diaries Mini Project: Snake Robots & The Staff of Asclepius - Zee Ann Poerio

At Carnegie Mellon University,  Snake Robots have been designed and engineered to perform tasks which benefit humans in many ways.  Looking to nature for inspiration, influence, and problem solving, engineers have designed some of the robots’ movements from those of real snakes.  And new “gaits” are being developed for the snake robots beyond what mother nature intended for snake locomotion. The robotic snakes are able to move through pipes, climb poles, and even thread their way through rubble after a disaster to assist in search and rescue.  Now, smaller versions are being engineering to assist with a less invasive form of heart surgery.   

My inspiration for the mini project comes from a small snakebot that was in the lab  with a model of a human heart.  Learning that the robotic snakes were now being used in medicine reminded me of the common symbol associated with medicine - the snake entwined staff of Asclepius, Greek god of medicine and healing.

Mini-Project inspired by a visit with SNAKE ROBOTS:


Student s will research snakes and using the Robot Diaries kits will create their own robotic staff of Asclepius.  Students can choose the species of snake of their choice to depict on the staff.  The robot should include two servos, and at least two lights and at least one sound effect.   The student will read his/her presentation from the point of view of the snake and coordinate the animations with their presentation which will includes the species, diet, how the snake moves, typical size and weight, and  lifespan. The snake itself should represent the snake’s true color and markings.  Additional information can include other interesting facts about snakes (not all snakes have fangs), symbolism of snakes (ex. Biblical references or snake images in ancient or modern times), a joke about snakes (What is a snake’s favorite subject?  Hiss-tory!), or a retelling of one of Aesop’s fables which include snakes.

Zee Ann Poerio

Concept Exploration & Concept Mapping - Multiple Curriculum Candidates - Zee Ann Poerio

Constellations (Science/Astronomy, Art & Technology) In conjunction with a unit on Astronomy, students will research constellations and use the robot kits to create a robotic representation of the constellation of their choice. This creation will be a robot diary for the constellation. For example, a student can choose to research the constellation Orion and create a hunter carrying a bow. The robot would tell the story associated with the constellation and include a featured motion of pulling back the bow.  The robot may include an outline of the actual constellation with LEDs in the places for some of the brightest stars.

Mythological creatures (Social Studies, Mythology/Language Arts, Art, Technology) Our after school “Classics Club” participates in an Ancient Coin Museum Project where the participating students learn about the history, art, culture, language, and history of the ancient Romans & Greeks.  Students will be assigned a mythological creature that is represented on an ancient coin in our museum collection. Students will design a robot that tells the related myth with movements and lights that highlight the creatures’ features.  For example, the chimera would have the body and head of a lion, a goat’s head extending from the middle of the body, and a snake for a tail. Coordinating animal sounds and movements can be incorporated into the audio. Lights can represent areas as they are introduced or they can reflect mood.

Native American Tribes: totem poles (Social Studies, Art, Technology) Students would be assigned one of the Native American Culture groups, and using the robot kits, they will design and construct a robotic totem pole based on the many aspects of their tribe’s culture. The totem pole should depict the groups’ location, type of home, clothing, food, customs, tools, weapons, art, and one famous member of the tribe.  Areas of the totem pole will include at least 2 lights and 2 servos and related audio clips.

Recycling (Art, Science & Technology) In conjunction with EARTH DAY activities, students will explore recycling and its impact on the Earth. As a school wide contest, students will be challenged to design a robot which will make use of the robot kits and encourage use of the existing water bottle recycling containers in our school cafeteria. Students will choose the winner from the top three selected from a group of teachers, administrators, parents, and students. The creator of the winning design will have have authority to establish a team to help build and construct the robot. The specific challenge should focus on changing the exisiting behaviors of misuse and non-use of the plastic water bottle recycling bins in the cafeteria.  A possible solution could include cheery lights and a silly sound when students place items inside the container.

Create your own Super Hero (English/Language Arts & Technology) Our English teacher assigns a yearly creative writing project where students design and create their own Super Hero. Students draw their Super Hero and write a description of their powers for a poster. We have collaborated in the past on this project.  This year we could add the option of having students choose to represent their Super Hero in robot form using the Robot Diaries kits.  The servos, lights, and sounds will be used to show the emotions, expressions, and powers of the Super Hero.  For example, Super Margot has the ability to fly so a motor can be used to show the flying motion. She can read minds and her eyes will light up when she is reading your mind.

Zee Ann Poerio