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My goal is to provide hands on STEM collaborative projects that meet the needs of the kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learners. To meet this goal, I have created an Educational Makerspace Center in the Pinellas Secondary School Media Center that is built upon the theory of constructionism, which is the philosophy of hands-on learning through building things. For this project, students will collaborate in pairs to create Brushbots, (tiny motorized robots), while acquiring STEM concepts that involve motion, friction, center of gravity, motors, and circuits. Students will also be developing fine motor skills, critical thinking skills, and problem solving skills needed to complete the task. The instructor will act as a Socratic guide, (answering questions with another question), for this student initiated inquiry-based approach to learning STEM concepts. Educational Makerspace projects such as this facilitate student creation and foster an interest in STEM related concepts and careers.

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JABIL- Educational Makerspace Activity - BRUSHBOTS - Acquiring STEM Concepts through Hands-On Collaborative Construction

grant photo
School:
Pinellas Secondary 
Subject:
Stem 
Teacher:
Susan Oliveto 
Students Impacted:
100 
Grade:
6-8 
Date:
September 3, 2016

Investors

Thank you to the following investors for funding this grant.

 

Jabil - $200.00

Pinellas Education Foundation - $231.45

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Goal

My goal is to provide hands on STEM collaborative projects that meet the needs of the kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learners. To meet this goal, I have created an Educational Makerspace Center in the Pinellas Secondary School Media Center that is built upon the theory of constructionism, which is the philosophy of hands-on learning through building things. For this project, students will collaborate in pairs to create Brushbots, (tiny motorized robots), while acquiring STEM concepts that involve motion, friction, center of gravity, motors, and circuits. Students will also be developing fine motor skills, critical thinking skills, and problem solving skills needed to complete the task. The instructor will act as a Socratic guide, (answering questions with another question), for this student initiated inquiry-based approach to learning STEM concepts. Educational Makerspace projects such as this facilitate student creation and foster an interest in STEM related concepts and careers. 

 

What will be done with my students

Brushbots are composed of the heads of toothbrushes and utilize tiny wired 3 volt motors powered by a variety of batteries; as the motor shaft spins, the resulting vibration transfers onto the toothbrush head making the brush bristles shake back and forth very quickly, while the backward angle of the bristles causes it to move forward.

Students will work in teams and follow detailed instructions to build their Brushbots. They will cut off the heads of the toothbrushes, use two-sided adhesive tape to attach the battery to the center head of the brush, and then adhere the wired motor to the top of the battery. They will then close the circuit by connecting the wires of the battery to the motor to initiate the vibration and let the races begin by measuring the distance and direction of their completed Brushbots.

Brushbots can be disassembled and re-assembled to modify the design features to further refine motion and direction by mounting the motor on the end instead of the center to induce axial motion, cutting out the middle bristles to reduce friction, adding wire legs or tail for stabilization, incorporating an on/off switch, etc.

Students will finalize this project by entering their Brushbots in a friendly race.

Proposed extended activities that combine STEM with Art or STEAM: 1. Students will personalized their Brushbots by adding distinctive decorative design features. 2. Students will dip the bristles of their Brushbots into paint and run them on a blank paper to create colorful technology-inspired abstract art.

Once the requested materials arrive, this Educational Makerspace Brushbot construction and activity project will utilize approximately two Science class periods and one Art class period per group of students. Therefore, approximately two weeks to provide this Makerspace project experience to all of the middle school students. It will then be repeated during the second semester cycle after a new group of middle school students are assigned to our school.


 

 

Benefits to my students

Most robotics programs are held after school or during a special summer camp with a select group of students. This activity will allow all PSS middle school students to benefit from this Educational Makerspace "learn by doing" Brushbot construction project and experience in action how STEM concepts such as energy transfer, open and closed circuits, weight distribution, and surface friction work.

Students will also benefit by conducting extended Brushbot activities that involve more advanced critical thinking and problem solving skills by further modifying their creations to measure and improve distance performance. Students will also explore other materials with which to create mobile robots out of recycled items from home, (larger brushes, cans, bottles), as well as explore and experiment with other means of powering their robots.

Other expected participant outcomes include increased student engagement, more specifically an increase in an interest in STEM activities, courses, and possible careers, and an interest in participating in more complex robotics opportunities, as well as improved collaboration skills gained by working together in a team.

The Library Media Specialist will be collaborating with the two Middle School Science teachers as well as with the one Middle School Art teacher to arrange the Educational Makerspace Library class visits.

 

 

Describe the Students

We are a Title I school with 100% free and reduced lunch.
Out of our current student population:
86% are at Level 1 & 2
20% are ESE
18% are 504
2% are ESOL
 

 

Budget Narrative

Items purchased can be assembled and disassembled for repeated student use, however, if a student chooses to keep their finished brushbot project to take home to share with their parents/guardians to demonstrate what they made in school, I would not say no. In fact, I would encourage it because students would be bringing home the STEM concepts they learned at school in the form of a demonstrable completed project. 

 

Items

# Item Cost
1 Radio Shack 3VDC MicroVibration Motor X60 $239.40
2 Radio Shack 6VDC Micro Super High Speed Motor X20 $79.80
3 Radio Shack AA Battery Holder X20 $29.80
4 Radio Shack 20 Assorted LEDs X5 $22.45
5 Dollar Tree 2 Pack Toothbrushes X40 $40.00
6 Dollar Tree 4 Pack 1.5 V Button Batteries X10 $10.00
7 Dollar Tree 4 Pack AA Batteries X10 $10.00
  Total: $431.45

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