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

Opportunities for Students

C-MITES Summer Program 

(Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary and Secondary Students Summer Program)

Application Deadline April 5, 2013

Anatomy and Robotics

 July 8-12

Here’s a class for the aspiring physician, scientist or roboticist!

Learn the anatomical concepts of the bones and muscles that make up the human arm. Dissect a chicken wing to see the components and how it functions. Discuss extension and flexion of the arm and how the elbow and wrist move. Diagram the muscles and bones and make life-sized models. Program a circuit board and make your arm model come to life. Use servos, LEDs, and sensors as you apply robotic technology to make your anatomical model move in a very realistic way. When science meets technology you will be amazed -- we’re not twisting your arm! Grades 5-7.

(Minimum EXPLORE Science Score=10)

Regular Price:$485, Discounted Price:$410




Ages 8-9, Full Day Camps 9 am – 3 pm

Camp registration for non-members begins Feb. 22.

Call 412.237.1637 or Register HERE 

June 17 – 21
July 22 – 26
Aug. 5 – 9

Technology and imagination unite as you combine craft materials and robotic components to build and animate robotic creations. Using Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab's visual programming software and Hummingbird Robotics Kits, campers will engage in the artistic side of robotics.
$235 members / $250 non-members (price includes materials fee)



Ages 10-12, Full Day Camps 9 am – 3 pm

Camp registration for non-members begins Feb. 22.

Call 412.237.1637 or REGISTER HERE 

June 10 – 14
July 29 – Aug. 2
Aug. 12 – 16 

Technology and imagination unite as you combine craft materials and robotic components to build and animate robotic creations. Using Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab's visual programming software and Hummingbird Robotics Kits, campers will engage in the artistic side of robotics.
$235 members / $250 non-members (price includes materials fee)

Motor Shaft Modification Tutorial

Based on popular request, the Arts & Bots team has created a video which gives a brief tutorial on how to modify the motor in the Hummingbird Kit for easier gluing and attachment. 

This method, developed by Tom Lauwers of BirdBrain Technologies (thanks Tom!), uses materials already included in each kit and a phillips-head screwdriver (not included).

The device, built using 2 narrow servo horns and 2 screws from the servo accessories bags, is placed over the motor output shaft and tightened to snugly fit against the flat sides of the shaft. The device can then be attached to other surfaces using hot glue and other adhesives.

Watch the video below to see how: 

-Arts & Bots Team

PETE&C 2013 Presentation on Arts & Bots

Here is the presentation from the PETE&C Presentation Session on:

Arts & Bots: Making Interdiscplinary Robots with Zee Ann Poerio and Jennifer Cross

Learn how Arts & Bots from the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University combines craft materials with robotics and visual programming to enable students to create interactive robots. This project-based approach engages and empowers K-12 students, supports standards and promotes technological fluency across disciplines from art history to anatomy.

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"

December Workshop Wrap-up

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Decmeber 3, 2012 Arts & Bots workshop, it was a successful and inspiring evening. Participants included twenty-four educators from 17 different organizations. They all built and programed robots inspired by the topic of winter. Many of the robots created can be seen below.


"The most challenging part was thinking of what all I wanted him to do"

Hot Air Balloon

"There was a lot of problem solving, mechanical wise"


Pittsburgh Penguin


Salvation Army

"I think the kids will love this!"


"I like that you see something immediate when you change things ... the abiltiy to adjust it"


Holiday Shoppers


Snowman 2

Snowman 3

Penguin 2

AttentionBot: A Robot Keeping Human Attention

AttentionBot’s purpose is to conduct researches in how to keep human attention. We are interested in communication inconsistency meaning that a person’s behaviors and speeches are inconsistent. In design field, people call the inconsistency “anti-affordance” meaning that the form and the function are unrelated. This leads to our research question: can anti-affordance robot designs attract and keep more human attention? We design two appearances (kind-looking Santa and evil-looking witch) and two characters (mean and nice). The kind-looking Santa with mean character and the evil-looking witch with nice character are anti-affordance robots. The other two are affordance robots. The robot asks the participant to mimic the sound that it says. The nice robot is encouraging and friendly while the mean robot is a terrible tease. Although the results of the experiment did not show significant differences in anti-affordance and affordance robots, we found that people got confused in identifying the character while interacting with anti-affordance robots. We conclude that for short term interaction, the influence level of appearance is larger than the one of character.

This is a project in “16867-Principles of Human-Robot Interaction” class in Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, U.S.A. Thanks to the supports of the project advisor, Prof. Illah R. Nourbakhsh. And also thanks to CREATE Lab's Hummingbird platform so that our group can easily develop the control system of the robot. Please visit for more information.

- Yen-Chia Hsu, Zheng Yang, and Valerie A Gonzalez

The Power Seeker

As part of Professor Illah Nourbakhsh's Principles of Human Robot Interaction course, our team developed a power-seeking robot using the Arts and Bots platform. 

Using the tool was a simple way to rapidly prototype our design which included two servo motors, a light sensor, an IR sensor, four LEDs, and two tricolor LEDs.  To start, we used the CREATE lab's Visual Programmer to set up our components.  Eventually, we took full advantage of the Hummingbeans java library which made text-to-speech straight forward and allowed for easy manipulation of sensor data and servo configuration.

Using the Hummingbird platform was a very positive experience for our team, enabling us to focus on our preliminary research investigation task of seeing whether or not people would perform favors for a robot requesting them based on behavior.

For more information, please visit our team's website at

-Marshall Fox (MRSD 2013), Jiangxia Shi (MRSD 2013), and Enqi Zu (MS-RT 2013)