STEAM: Bristlebot Workshop

27 Jan

bbEven with all the snow, we carried on and still offered a Bristlebot Workshop for kids in grades 4 – 8 on Monday night.  I started off the program talking about circuitry and although it probably didn’t make the most sense, I think the kids figured out the difference between an open circuit and a closed circuit.  I had planned on using Steve Spangler’s Energy Stick to reinforce the circuitry discussion, but completely forgot until after the program!  We did talk about light switches though and the kids figured out the difference.  I also briefly talked about Newton’s Laws of Motion, but didn’t get too in depth.

We ended up with 18 kids, most in the 4th and 5th grade range and we actually bought the Bristlebots from the Bristlebots website, which if you have the funding – it makes life a whole lot easier as each is packaged individually and has everything you need.  It actually took the kids longer than I expected for them to put their bot together, which was awesome, because it reinforced the idea that sometimes you have to try something a couple times to get it to work the right way.  I never do the project for them, rather ask them some questions and maybe show them what needs to happen next in order for them to succeed.

Once the kids were able to their bots moving, we pulled out our wooden blocks that we use for our early literacy programs and let the kids create mazes, and paths and all sorts of different creations for their Bristlebots.  And they really enjoyed it!  Some had bridges and ramps, others had maze-like creations, it was great to see their creativity come alive when working with the blocks and Bristlebots bringing together a makerspace from years past and a makerspace from the 21st century into one unified program.

Another great resource is the Bristlebots Design Workbook that you can download from the Bristlebot website for free!  Which really has some awesome activities and experiments that your kids can try.  Overall, I was really happy with the program and am excited to offer some more STEAM workshops this summer!

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