Arduino

Creating projects by starting with a processor gives you more flexibility than starting with a pre-fab robotics platform and opens up a world of hobbyist accessories.  We use the Arduino-compatible family processors, including the popular Uno, miniature Trinket or wearable Flora.  There are other processors available (Raspberry Pi, Edison), though we have no direct experience with them.  Here are some ideas of what you can do with Arduino-family processors.

RoboPots

Craft a pot, add a houseplant, and rig a pump to water the plant every 24 hours with the RoboPots program.

Tip: Your Room Matters

Does your workspace shatter unwelcoming geek stereotypes?

"I entered the room and I saw the colors, the lights, the kids, the projects, and it seemed to be androgynous in the sense that it was accessible to all -- the males and the females in the room."  That's what the dad of a girl attending Print-A-Pet says in the video below. 

This Mainer is confirming what researchers at University of Washington have found about females being more willing to tackle computer science if the environment doesn't look like a geek hangout.  Nature posters, a plant, tidiness, and plastic tablecloths are examples of ways to make your program space welcoming to all kinds of kids.

Print-A-Pet

Platypus, owl, sloth or unicorn -- any pet students can draw, they can 3D print and animate with flashing eyes and a wagging tail at Print-a-Pet.

Tip: Choose Creative Projects

To attract gender-balanced enrollment, choose creative projects.  When robotics projects have an artistic expression element, girls and boys are much more likely to feel an equally strong sense of belonging, according to surveys of Gizmo Garden students. 

In fact, in a Dartmouth study, prior to any robotics experience, girls were twice as likely to prefer building animal-themed robots to building bare-metal robots.  After building animal-themed robots, boys and girls both reported equally high enjoyment.  So creative projects are inclusive!

Gizmo Water Park

Check back for more details.

Gizmo Parade

Check back for more details.

Other Platforms