The 200 Robot Diaries kits for iPuppets have arrived at the lab. Jen, Emily and Clara open the boxes. Very exciting!
The students will begin researching their historic figures Tuesday of next week. Once they have background information about the person, they will begin writing their stories in Mrs. Hurley's language arts classes. Finally, Mr. Vavases (science) and Mrs. Hajdu (mathematics) will work with students during the robot production and programming.
The students are very excited about the project and have already begun discussing ideas for their characters.
We have been approved to present a pre-conference session at the Pennsylvania Educations Technology Expo and Conference (PETE&C).
Here is our session information
PC-D04 Robots in the Classroom: Telling a Story
February 13 Half-Day Workshop (1:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.)
Attendees will use craft materials and robotic parts to design a robot that serves as a means of expression for its creator. Using light, sound, and movement, users can construct a robot to narrate a story. Ultimately, the designing of a robot provides a unique means of exploring, expressing, and sharing emotions, ideas and thoughts while promoting technological literacy and integration across disciplines.
The summer residency of middle school teachers Rob Ruddle and Tanner Huffman at the CREATE Lab concluded on August 6. We are grateful for the outstanding quality and volume of work both have contributed to the project. The documentation included in this blog is only a partial representation of the new Robot Diaries curriculum they have created. It was fun to work together and test out the new activities. We look forward for the in-class implementation of the new Robot Diaries curriculum, starting this October.
The learning curve that is associated with technology was well supplemented with the availability of experts that developed the software and hardware for the project. Questions that would usually be addressed via email or phone could be answered in person with quality explanation and hands-on troubleshooting.
The classroom and facilities were well equipped during both development and sample lessons. Often, as educators, it is difficult to obtain appropriate classroom space during the summer for mock classrooms and lesson. The residency at CMU allowed us to utilize fully functional classroom space that was instrumental in the curriculum development.
Lastly, the educational inspiration and resources at CMU were by far the most comprehensive I have ever experienced in my career as an educator. We had first hand access to leaders and experts in several fields of art, engineering, literature, and history. The unique workshops and presentations developed for us at CMU were both informative and inspiring. These experiences are well reflected in our activities and lessons and will afford our students with content that is engaging through real world relevance.
I look forward to continuing my experience with the CREATE Lab and CMU during my upcoming school year. During future summer curriculum development, I am hopeful we can continue the residency format and reach out to invite other educators as well.
Tanner J. Huffman
We spent a month writing the Robot Diaries curriculum at Carnegie Mellon University’s Create Lab. We created two separate curricula: one is intended to be a standalone curriculum for use in the Technology Education classroom and one is designed to be a multidisciplinary curriculum implemented by multiple teachers. It was extremely helpful having access to the staff of the CREATE Lab. Anytime we required resources, they made them available. For example, when we needed to acquire ideas for the Museum Bots curriculum, they arranged for a private tour of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. When I needed books related to ancient civilizations, they made arrangements at the library. By working at the lab, we had opportunities to test lessons each week, receive feedback, and make revisions.
Developed by Rob Ruddle
You have been hired to create an exhibit for the ancient civilizations wing at the Robot Diaries Museum. This museum uses animated exhibits to tell stories about different cultures.
Examples of students' work see these videos.
The Museum Bots curriculum was created with the purpose of integrating science, technology, mathematics, social studies, language arts, and art by using robotics as a knowledge vehicle.
Students create robotic characters from ancient civilizations and narrate their lives.
Students integrate sensors to have their robots interact.
Students create a setting for their robots and have the robots react to the setting.
First Iteration Ancient Celebrities
Picking between Egypt, Greece or Rome - students researched their ancient civilization of choice to find a historic figure they would like to portray. Students built a robot to represent that personality, and programmed it to move and express emotions as they narrate its story.
Students used this storyboard format to plan and program their robot and its narrative:
Second Iteration Status and Symbols
Following a tour of the Ancient Egypt Hall of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, led by Christine Mills, the lesson plan was revised to include people from all walks of life and integrate ancient symbols into the robot design.
Each student was assigned an ancient civilization and a social class.
After conducting some research using reference books and online resources - students built a robot to represent the class and culture they were assigned. They then programmed it to move and express emotions as they narrate a story from its daily life.
This People and Culture handout helped frame students research and work.
The exhibit has opened and many museum patrons have been asking questions about how the people would have interacted with each other in ancient civilizations. The museum owners have decided to have you and another employee work together to have your robots interact with each other. Of course, the conversation will be translated to English.
Students modified robots that were built in the previous activities. They wrote a conversation and added sensors and triggers to the design in order for the robots to interact with each other. In this iteration students had a choice of creating a conversation between two characters from the same civilization, or between representative of two different ancient cultures.
We met with artist Keith Hershberger to learn how to do stop motion animation, and explore ways it can be used within Robot Diaries curriculum. Stop motion animation can help fill narrative gaps in the mechanic movement of the robots, while engaging students in fun media techniques.
This clip incorporated stop motion animation into an existing video recorded during the Dialogues activity:
Developed by Tanner Huffman
Robots are capable of expressing simple emotions and performing simple actions as they assist in telling a story. curriculum
Lesson 1 My Robot and Me
Students created a robot companion based on the face of their favorite animal, person or cartoon character. They programmed the robot to express various emotions, as they narrate a story of a common (or uncommon) day in life.
Among the volunteers in this test classroom was Dr. Marek Michalowski of BeatBots, co-developer of the sweet and famous Keepon (a small creature-like robot designed to interact with children by directing attention and expressing emotion). Michalowski provided some feedback on the lesson and shared some of his experiences working on and with Keepon.
Lesson 2 Robot Seuss
In small groups, students read a Dr. Seuss book and then wrote an original story utilizing at least one Dr. Seuss key style (discussed earlier in class). Students created and programmed robot characters to enact their original story.
Special thanks to Kathy Maron-Wood, Senior Librarian, and Patte Kelley, Department Head, at Children's Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, who provided access, guidance and books to support the development of this and other lessons.
Developed by Tanner Huffman
Students created pieces of art mimicking changes in nature. They utilized infrared proximity sensors to make the artwork react to viewers. curriculum
Another example here.
Earlier in the summer residency (prior to the development of this lesson) artist Garth Zeglin met with Tanner and Robert to talk about his research and artwork, including kinetic sculptures combining fabric and robotic elements.