St. Philip's Arts and Bots Menagerie

The 7th and 8th grade students at St Philip School in Crafton, PA used the Arts and Bots program to create simple craft projects which they animated using the Hummingbird kits and visual programming software. 

Arts and Bots was the perfect program for our project which was a simple introduction to robots and programming. Objectives were to learn what components are needed to create and program a robot and to practice the step-by-step thought process used in programming. The students viewed the examples and excellent tutorials on the Arts and Bots Website, created craft creatures, and set out to plan which sensors, LEDs and outputs could be used to fit their bot’s “personality” and function.  Although time restrictions kept most projects at a simple level, learning objectives were met by every student and enthusiasm and interest remained high throughout the project. Ease of use of the Hummingbird kit and the drag and drop function of the visual programming software kept success within every student’s reach. Arts and Bots is a fabulous program – even the “reluctant techies” loved it!

Children's Books Come to Life at Bots & Books Competition

The Bots and Books Design Challenge, at The School of Information Sciences (the iSchool) at the University of Pittsburgh, saw eight teams of undergraduate and Masters students design, program and build a robot to illustrate a theme from a children’s book. Their ‘bots were judged by Brian Beaton, Bob Perkoski, Martin Weiss and Corey Wittig. Many memorable presentations took place, including a Valentine’s Day dancing Cinderella and a reenactment of Disney’s The Lion King. The judges had a difficult decision to make, but in the end they selected three winning teams: Team Pizza(Ty Houy, Mandy Kendall and Tom Robinson), first prize for BunniculaThe Carnegie Crew (Michael Balkenhol, Georgiana Deming and Bonny Yeager), second prize for The Invention of Hugo Cabret; and The Notorious Cardigans (Angela Bradshaw, Emily Mross and Jourdan Walls), third prize for Jumanji

Here is the winning bot in action:

 The final parts list for the Bunnicula Bot was 3 servos, 1 motor, 2 single color LED’s for the vegetable and 2 tricolor LED’s for Bunnicula’s eyes.  

Carnegie Science Center Create-a-bot

This summer, the Carnegie Science Center held six summer robotics camps for ages 8-12. Using the CREATE Lab's visual programmer and Hummingbird Kits, campers combined craft materials and robotic components to build and animate artistic robotic creations. This camp was one of the most popular camps they ran this summer. Check out their bots below.

To Build a Robot Dragon

Link to the timelapse video.

Using the the Hummingbird Kit, kit boxes and craft supplies, Jenn (from the CREATE Lab) built a second Arts & Bots dragon. This time with butterfly wings! The dragon uses all four servo motors to move the neck, mouth and two wings. It also has tri-color LEDs in the eyes and single color LEDs in the fire-breath and illuminated heart. The tail wags using a DC motor attached to a modified quick return mechanism constructed from popsicle sticks. The body, head and neck are constructed from the original packaging of the Hummingbird Kit. The wings are constructed from foam, popsicle sticks and some metal pieces and then attached to servo powered push-pull linkages inside the body. The dragon was then decorated using markers, highlighters, craft foam, googly eyes and craft gems.

We documented the entire process using a Canon Rebel T2i to take a still photo every 5 seconds. We processed the resulting 6,925 images using TimeMachine Creator software to make an explorable timelapse video where you can control the speed, decide where to zoom in and out, and be able to explore each detail of the construction on your own pace.  

Total construction time: 10 hours 

Challenge question: How many hot glues sticks were used in creating the purple dragon? Watch the timelapse to find out.

The original green Arts & Bots dragon was thrilled to meet the new purple dragon. The purple dragon is now on-tour around the United States at expos and shows with our friends at BirdBrain Technologies and Qupiron. See the video of the dragons together below.

Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools-PD @ The Elllis School

Independent school teachers learning to incorporate the A(rts) in STEM .

For more details see course description bellow.

A 21st century classroom gives students the opportunity to be
inventors rather than just users of technology. Integrating robotics
into your classroom helps feed a student's natural curiosity about
technology by enabling them to incorporate robotics into something they
are making that is meaningful or useful. Integrating robotics into your
curriculum can enhance  students’ motivation, confidence, and

In this workshop, faculty from The Ellis School and the CMU Create Lab
will teach participants how to integrate robotics into your curriculum
to provide powerful opportunities for students to develop multiple and
creative ways of learning.   You will learn about the Arts & Bots kit
developed out of research from the CREATE Lab of Carnegie Mellon
University and used at The Ellis School in both Middle and Upper

With a free, easy-to-learn drag-and-drop environment, students armed
with paper, glue, cardboard, and a little imagination can program
their creations without prior experience. The project engages both
girls and boys from elementary school through high school. Arts & Bots
is a flexible program that can be adapted to many contexts and
subjects in and out of school.
This unique workshop and presentation will conclude with a tour of the
CREATE Lab and Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
Participants will also get to keep the robot kit they use in class.


Carnegie Science Center

25 students from high schools all over Allegheny county came together once a month for 4 months as part of the AIU Robotics apprenticeship program. The students learned about robots then learned how to make and program their own creations. Students started with Lego Mindstorms then graduated into creating and programming their own 'bots using thenHummingbird kit and recycled materials. Several students chose to challenge themselves and programmed their Humminbirds using Processing instead of the Create-lab visual programmer.

Zachary weber
Staff Educator, technology programs
Carnegie Science Center

Poetry in Motion

Sue Mellon, Gifted Support Coordinator in the Allegheny Valley School District integrated Arts & Bots into her 8th grade Language Arts class. The project served as a culminating activity for a poetry unit, giving students an exciting anchor for the unit, and allowing them to practice their poetry analysis skills. Students worked in teams to analyze a poem and then create a scene for their poem. 

The Human Seasons by John Keats

"I learned the value of teamwork...we had to depend on each other to get it done."

The Pasture by Robert Frost

"I learned that there is a lot of troubleshooting that you have to do. Sometimes when things don't work out you have to take an alternate route"

Theme in Yellow by Carl Sandburg

"This all requires a lot of patience"

El Dorado by Edgar Allan Poe

"I learned that if you keep an open mind with the group you are assigned to work with then you can do anything."

Bright Star by John Keats

"I learned to always have an open mind about what you can do if it doesn't work."

A Drop Fell on the Apple Tree by Emily Dickinson

"I learned that it is very hard to work with robots and sometimes robots don't like to do what you tell them and they have a mind of their own"

The Sun Has Long Been Set by William Wordsworth

"I have never done this before so I learned how to do a lot of things"

Robotic Poetry

Sue Mellon, Gifted Support Coordinator in the Allegheny Valley School District integrated Arts & Bots into 7th and 8th grade Language Arts classes. The project served as a culminating activity for a poetry unit, giving students an exciting anchor for the unit, and allowing them to practice their poetry analysis skills. Students worked in teams to analyze a poem and then create a scene or a billboard display for their poem. 


Grass by Carl Sanburg

"I learned that even though programming looks difficult it is actually easier than it seems."

A Drop Fell on the Apple Tree by Emily Dickinson


A Drop Fell on the Apple Tree by Emily Dickinson from CREATE Lab on Vimeo.

"I thought programming was really easy then I realized it takes a lot of timing and work to put everything together."


The Human Seasons by John Keats

"It doesn't take a genius to do robotics." 

"I'm happy that art can be intergrated into robotics."


El Dorado by Edgar Allan Poe

"Communication is key when working as a team."

"Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses."


The Pasture by Robert Frost

"Poetry can sometimes be hard to understand but using robotics and giving you a visual can help you understand it."


The Sun Has Long Been Set by William Wordsworth

"I learned how the robotics can relate to poetry."


Design by Robert Frost

"It takes dedication not necessarily a level of smartness to understand the robots."
"Programming is very challenging but once you get use to it, its easy."


Bright Star by John Keats

"I learned that poems can be brought to life off the paper."