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: