The last project in our electricity and circuits unit was making an Art Bot. Today, I wanted to explain how we made this cute motorized guy. It’s a fun STEM project even if you are not doing a larger unit about electricity and circuits!
Prior to doing this activity, we had learned about series and parallel circuits and learned some of the basic electrical symbols. We practiced how to draw basic electrical schematics – including one with a motor.
We talked about how a refrigerator must be designed… with the motor and light as part of a parallel circuit because when the light bulb in a fridge burns out, the motor continues to run keeping the food cold!
Then it was time to bring out our own small motor to make our own project. The kids were squirming with excitement!
I brought out the basic supplies for this project:
But since we had done about 10 different electrical circuit projects by this point, I didn’t give them much in the way of direction except to say that they had to attach the craft stick to the motor.
They tried a bunch of different options, but I’m making it easier for you by explaining how we used foam beads to attach the craft stick to the motor!
Steps for making your bot
1) attach 3 or 4 markers to a large plastic cup.
2) Put the AAA battery into the battery holder. Tape the battery holder to the top of the cup.
3) Place a dot of hot glue into the hole of your foam bead. Place the bead on the stem of the small motor.
4) Place a dot of hot glue onto the top of the foam bead. Place a popsicle stick onto the bead.
5) Put a bit of hot glue onto the top of the cup. Place the motor onto the glue and tape the motor into place. Be sure the popsicle stick does not hit the cup.
6) Decorate your bot with googly eyes and feathers if desired. ED decided to add an LED-bulb and button battery to hers to make a nose.
7) Take off the top of the marker caps, put it onto a large sheet of paper, and let your bot go!!
LD was really excited by the motor and asked if he could do a project of his own. He made his own miniature saw… and as you can see from the photo below, it really worked! This was definitely a cool project for a teen! There are directions for this in the electricity and circuits packet below.
If your kids enjoy doing STEM activities they will definitely learn a lot from this the electricity and circuits unit! I personally didn’t really understand the difference between volts, amps or ohms until doing this unit! The kids learned not only to make various circuits, but what resistors are and how to incorporate them into a circuit… how to draw basic electrical schematics and more!
Some of the topics and terms we talked about in this unit included:
This packet includes notebook pages (and answer pages) and lots of hands-on activities.
In this unit, I organized things into daily plans. Each day has the worksheets, suggested hands-on activities and materials needed as well as any books we used. It will take about 10 days (if you do an activity each day). My kids were 8, 11 and 13 when we did this unit.
To Make a Purchase: Once you pay for this packet, you will immediately receive a link to download this file (which will open in a browser window). You will also receive an email from Sendowl (the service I use) to your PayPal email address, which will have a link you can click on to download the Electricity and Circuits unit. (It will go to the Paypal address you provided and will say, “You can download your digital products…” with a clickable link. It may take a few moments to arrive.) Of course, if you have any issues just email me at — liesl at homeschoolden dot com. You can also reach me by using the contact form on the blog or by replying to the email from SendOwl.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post and in the packet above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Do you like STEM projects?
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math): If you are excited to get your kids doing some STEM projects, here are some fun activities we’ve done over the years:
- 7 Engineering Activities for Kids – These are quick engineering challenges you can do with your kids just to change things up and get them engaged. They are great with any age!
- Engineering Activities for Kids – This is another post with other activities we did!
- Chemistry Experiments for Kids These are some fun chemistry experiments that we did. The packet is free to print out!
- Critical Thinking Activities – This post includes some of the math challenges my kids have loved!! We brought out some math circle challenges and the kids would BEG for more! In fact, now that I think about it I should bring out that book again!
- Do you all know about the Free Engineering Units? Our family has used a number of these and they are truly wonderful. They might be really fun for summertime… there are units on bubbles, rockets, and much more! They have free units for Grades 3-5 and for Grades 6-8.