Mini Project Idea: Biological Systems - Rob Ruddle

Students will create a model of a biological system that demonstrates how that biological system works.  More specifically, the model should demonstrate how the system reacts when performing a certain task. Student research will be necessary. The inspiration for this project came from the demonstration we saw  yesterday in which sensors were attached to a man to create a graphical model how h is body reacts when hitting a golf ball.  this activity could also be extended by having students label systems, subsystems, and components. While sensors would be very expensive for a school district, there are plenty of youtube videos that demonstrate things in slow motion.  additionally, some might have access to high speed cameras  and will be able to create their own slow motion videos.    The difficulty I see with this project is that this will only  work for systems you can see from the outside of the body.
Rob Ruddle

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.

Museum Bots

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.

Detailed Documentation:     Introduction     Unit 0     Unit 1     Unit 2     Unit 3 


First Iteration Ancient Celebrities

Museum Bots - Creating an Exhibit / first iteration from CREATE Lab on Vimeo.


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

Museum Bots - Creating an Exhibit / second iteration from CREATE Lab on Vimeo.

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.


Extension Dialogues

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.

Museum Bots Communicate from CREATE Lab on Vimeo.

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.


Extension Animation

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.

Stop Motion Animation Workshop from CREATE Lab on Vimeo.


This clip incorporated stop motion animation into an existing video recorded during the Dialogues activity:

Museum Bots with Stop Motion from CREATE Lab on Vimeo.