Mini Project Idea: Human Environmental Interaction - Tanner Huffman

"Our world is what We make it"

Objective:  Student will develop an understanding of human interaction with the environment.  Students will explore both positive and negative impacts of human intervention.
Research - Student will research either a positive or negative effect of human involvement with the environment.  Examples include: Conservation, Lead Certification, Recycling (Positive) or Deforestation, Ozone Destruction, Water Pollution.
Action - Students will develop a basic interactive model that will change, either positively or negatively, with human presence.  Student will utilize a motion sensor to switch between two "modes" of their model; Before Humans and After Humans.

Tanner Huffman

Mini Project Idea: Electric Car Timeline - Sue Mellon

Mini Project:  InteractiveTimeline for the Electric Car    Submitted by Sue Mellon

1.       Using the timeline created by PBS (link below) as a starting point, identify five key events for this invention and create a one minute audio file for each identified event using Audacity.  The audio file should contain at least three pieces of information outside of the scope of the timeline.  Keep a record of your references for this additional information.


2.        After creating an audio file, develop a robotic icon for each event.  You will use Robot Diaries to make this interactive exhibit of your research.  This exhibit will work much like those seen in museums.  You may use the distance sensor or some other means to trigger the start of your exhibit.


Grading Rubric


1 point

2 points

3 points

1 Bonus Point


All 5 events have at least one additional fact

All 5 events have at least two additional facts

All 5 events have at least three additional facts

Exceptional Details

Creative Icon?

meets basic requirements

addition of color, detail or creative thinking

multiple additions

Exceptional Work

Use of Robot Diaries?

simple one area commands

creative combinations

triggered events


Mini-Project Ideas: Inspired by SNAKE ROBOTS at CMU - 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 porject 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: STAFF of ASCLEPIUS ROBOT DIARY

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

A Model of Arm Muscles - Terry Richards


This is a model of the right arm bones showing the humerus, radius, ulna, and wrist.  Attached to the model are "muscles" involved in the functions of extension and flexion of the arm at the elbow and the flexion and extension of the wrist.  The muscles are made from strips of pantyhose or red craft foam.  "Tendons" made from rubber bands connect the muscles to the bones at the various attachment points (origin and insertion).  Further testing of the muscle materials will be done. 



Terry Richards

The Ellis School

Mini Project Idea: Scientific Term Pronunciation Decoder - Terry Richards

The mini project is based on and inspired by the LISTEN Project in the CREATE Lab. The project would be designed to teach Human Anatomy and Physiology students how to pronounce common scientific or medical terms including ones most likely to be mispronounced.  This project will involve listing the common medical terms associated with each unit, determining the correct pronunciation (using a variety of resources), and finally creating a recording of each term.  This recording would be the voice of the Robot Diaries robot “Decoder” created by different groups of students.  The “Decoder” could possibly be a model of a female physician/scientist who is a specialist for the unit.  The project would be a collaborative such that the terms would be divided among groups of students and each would then listen to the others’ robot.

Classroom experience supports that the students would feel more comfortable when making their end-of-term presentations as their speech would be more accurate and professional when correct pronunciation is used.  A student’s presentation appears unrehearsed when she stumbles over the difficult-to-pronounce words.



Terry Richards


Mini Project Idea: Car Emissions - Erin Hopkins

Going Green Mini Project

For this mini-project, students must research the latest innovations in electric cars and compare them to gasoline powered cars. Students will need to compare two similar cars and their research should include the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced by each car, the cost of production for each car, the cost of maintenance for each car, and the maximum mileage obtained by a gasoline powered car with a full tank of gas versus an electric car with a full charge. Students should also research the pros and cons of each car and make an informed decision as to which car they would like to advocate. Then, students will design a model using Robot Diaries to convince their audience to side with them for or against electric cars. Students will need to present their findings and their Robot Diaries to the community and create flyers to hand out after their presentation. This project will not only teach students about economic, social, and biological issues that we face as a society, but it will create community awareness about the pros and cons of electric cars so that they may also make an informed decision about the car they drive.

Post by Erin Hopkins  

Beatlebot "Ringo" video - Diane Lally


Ringo is playing the drums and moving his head simultaneously. I would like to add music and more sequenced movements in the future.Possible songs could be "Yellow Submarine" or "Octopus's Garden". This "Beatlebot" will be something I can use when teaching my middle school students with the 12-week Beatlesongs theme.


Diane Lally

Project Ideas - Sue Mellon

Sue Mellon – Project Ideas

Project #1
Discipline:  Mathematics
Grade level:  6th
Skill:  Measuring Angles to 180°
(Math Assessment Anchor –
 Measurement, Eligible Content: M6.B.2.1.3 Measure angles using a protractor up to 180° - protractor must be drawn - one side of the angle to be measured should line up with the straight edge of the protractor. )
Idea:  Using Servo motors with the “finger like” extension, position small characters at the end of the “finger like” extension and have students move their characters various degrees less than 180°.

Project #2
Discipline:  Reading
Grade levels: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th
Skill:  Comprehension of Poetry 
(Note:  The “Target Passage Types for the Reading PSSA” chart indicates that poems will be included in all tests for these grade levels.  Many students view poetry negatively and they need to accept the fact that must demonstrate understanding.)
Idea:  Hold a “Robot Theater Classroom Festival” where students give poems “life” by using Robot Diaries.  I would divide the students into groups of two and assign them a poem.  After completing an analysis of the poem, they will create a scene with the servos, LEDs, etc. to accompany a recorded reading of the poem.  After all projects are complete, students will walk around the room viewing each other’s scenes.

Project #3
Discipline:  Social Studies
Grade level:  7th
Skill:  Reporting Research
(Note:  For the last two school years, I have been working with our 7th grade Social Studies teacher to complete the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh’s Middle School Ambassador Program.  Each year, the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh identifies an area of the world for targeted study.  We invite speakers from these regions to our school.  We also research the region by dividing the students into teams and have them create PowerPoint shows as part of a team presentation.  These presentations are very important to the students because they are the basis of determining the top 20-25 students who get to attend the culminating seminar held at the Cathedral of Learning each spring.)
Idea:  I believe that Robot Diaries could be a nice addition to this presentation and would give the teams of four more “hands-on” activities.  The students could use the Robot Diaries to recreate a famous citizen from their region.

Project #4
Discipline:  Technology
Grade level:  5th & 6th
Skill:  Understanding Programming Basics
(Note:  Each week, during one of the daily IE (Intervention-Enrichment) periods, I have a “pull-out” Gifted Support Time called GATE Tech in which we create technology based projects.  With the 4th grader, we do a great deal with PowerPoint—taping presentations and attaching these files, attaching videos from Discovery Education as well as creating interactive presentations (non-sequential).  With the 5th and 6th graders, we complete projects using MovieMaker and Storytelling Alice.)
Idea:  I believe that adding Robot Diaries would be a perfect addition to this work as many of my students are very artistic and love creating things this year.  My students love the new duct tape art as well as origami.  This would also reinforce our exploration of programming concepts such “looping.”

Project #5
Discipline:  Health and PE
Grade level:  6th and 7th
Skill:  Identifying health eating habits
Idea:   Students could create a robotic character and have the character deliver the “health message.”

Concept Exploration & Concept Mapping - Rob Ruddle

Five Integration Ideas for the Robot Diaries Materials
By: Rob Ruddle

1. Poe-Bots

The students will create a robotic reenactment of an Edgar Allen Poe work. The teacher can limit the works that can be chosen. This could be done solo or in groups of two. This idea could also be applied to the works of Shakespeare and others.

2. Debate of Current Events

The students will work with a partner to perform a debate about a current event. Their robots will act out emotions to accompany their arguments in an attempt to convince the rest of the class to side with them.

3. Anchor-bot

The students will create a robot that represents a news anchor. The news anchor will introduce a new scientific or technological breakthrough (within the past year). The news story should talk about the background behind the breakthrough, the current effect, and the potential future impacts.

4. Talk Show

Students will work with a partner to create a robotic host and interviewee. The interviewee will be a person from American History (the teacher can provide a list). The host will ask questions and the interviewee will answer the way the person probably would have answered.


5. Angles

Students will create a robotic device that teaches about angles. The device should be able to show congruency, supplementary angles, and complimentary angles. The students can then use their devices to teach younger students about angles.