Robo Arm

Create a gripper device that helps you grab stuff

Session ROLES:

🐙 = Site Coordinator

🦉= Mentor

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A Note for Site Coordinators and Mentors

This session guide provides a detailed outline for the Robo Arm activity, but feel free to improvise or put your own spin to things. If you have an idea for a challenge or prompt that will get girls excited, go for it! If something is not working well, change course and experiment another path forward. 

If you do change things up, we would love to hear what has been successful for you!  

Get Social!

📷 We love to see invention in action! Take photos/videos of your session and tag us on social with the hashtag #snapthegap. *Please make sure you have sharing authorization from parents and your affiliated organization before posting.

 

Session Overview

Girls will use the littleBits Invention Cycle, and an understanding of the basics of circuitry, sensors, and motion, to create a robo-arm device that helps you grab stuff. They will then improve upon or modify the functionality of their Robo-Arm to complete different tasks. Conclude the activity by having girls share how their modified robo-arm can be used to help others in their daily lives.

 

Session Details

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Duration:

2 hours

Subjects:

Engineering

Design

Science

Prerequisite Knowledge:

Intro to littleBits

Invention Cycle

 

Supplies

Bits + Accessories:

Snap the Gap STEM Kit

Device:

Mentors will need to bring a connected device (phone, tablet, or computer) to access instructional videos

Other Materials:

Extra 9V batteries

Tape

Nice to Have:

Colored Paper

Markers

Scissors

 

Description

Theme: Helpful Machines

Objectives: By the end of the session, girls will be able to:

  • Create and test a circuit containing a power source, inputs and outputs

  • Construct a prototype of a robotic gripper using littleBits

  • Test their prototypes and make improvements 

  • Demonstrate their ability to Create, Play, Remix and Share an invention through the littleBits Invention Cycle

  • Summarize their process and Share how the resulting invention could help improve the lives of others

 


Set Up

🐙SITE COORDINATORS: 

  • Make sure all the supplies for this session are prepped and ready to go.

  • We suggest handing out the kits during the CREATE phase, after the introduction.

🦉MENTORS: 

  • Make sure to bring a charged connected device (phone, iPad, or computer) to access instructional videos during the session.

 

Meet Up

5 min

🐙SITE COORDINATORS: 

Take attendance and make sure mentors and girls are paired off.

🦉MENTORS: 

Check in with your mentee to make sure she signed up with DIY.org (previously JAM.com)

Take turns asking each other questions. Example prompts:

  • DIY: Discuss what your mentee explored on DIY.org since last session. What topics did they find interesting and why? Did they participate in any challenges. If possible, take a look together on DIY.org.

  • What's one thing you created or invented this week?

 

Introduce

10 min

🐙SITE COORDINATORS INTRODUCE THE SESSION

Today you will use littleBits to recreate a wearable robotic arm!

Ask: What are some daily tasks that a robotic arm could help with? Ex: A robotic arm could help you for something far away, play a game, or help someone who doesn’t have use of their hand pick things up. etc…

You can facilitate a group discussion or have girls draw, write, or talk with a partner to respond to the question.

Before jumping into the challenge, provide a quick review of the Invention Cycle framework. Ask girls to share lessons learned about Bits, the invention process and things they enjoyed or struggled with from previous challenges.

 

Inspire

5 min

🦉MENTORS Review session inspiration videoS and prompts with girls 

These videos show different ways in which machines can help in people in their daily lives.

 

Simone Giertz Nose Blowing Machine - engineer who makes hilarious “helpful” machines

Prosthetic Arm, made with littleBits, helps people who don’t have use of their hands pick things up

 

Discuss/Careers: Electrical Engineers, Product Designers


Create

40 min

🦉MENTORS: 

Facilitate the CREATE, PLAY, & REMIX activities with mentees.

🐙SITE COORDINATORS: 

During the CREATE, PLAY, & REMIX activities, float around the room and observe/help out where needed. You will also monitor the time and announce when the group should come together to share.


Robo Arm

Create a gripper device that helps you grab stuff

 
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CREATE: Watch the video playlist for build instructions:

  1. Intro to Wearables

  2. Create Gripper

 

Play

10 min

PLAY: Try out your invention! 

 
  • Once the prototypes have been constructed, girls should test their inventions to make sure they work and to see what they can learn about them. Keep in mind that the inventions likely won’t work perfectly the first time; failure is part of the process.

  • Experiment! What objects are you able to pick up easily. Which are more difficult? 

  • How quickly can you pick up 10 crumpled paper balls and put them in the recycling bin?

  • In small groups, ask girls to discuss/explain how the circuit works, including the mechanical arm. A clear understanding of how it works will help them explore and experiment during the Remix phase.   

 
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Remix

20 Min

Now it’s time for girls to put their Engineering Design skills to work to improve or modify their Trash Chomper. How can you use Bits and craft materials to improve or customize your invention? If there is time, try out more than one remix idea! Here are some ideas:

 
  • Make it Automatic with the Sound Sensor and Latch Bits

    • Watch the following video playlist for a guided remix:

      • Create Auto Gripper

      • Play Auto Gripper

      • About the Latch

 
  • Add Bits

    • How could this change or improve your invention to help someone complete a task? Can you add a long LED to make it easier to pick things up in the dark? How about a buzzer Bit?

  • Add Materials

    • Give your gripper some personality - does it look like an animal or part of a superhero suit? Use stickers or add other craft materials and get creative here.

    • Are there other materials you can add to change or improve functionality? Can you make the scoop bigger or add a pipe cleaner to create a hook? Try out different materials that are available to you.

Ask girls to explain their remix choices and the resulting change in functionality and outcomes.

 

Share

15 Min

🐙SITE COORDINATORS: 

  • Gather girls together to share their remixed inventions

  • Girls can demonstrate their version of the robo-arm and explain how it works. They should discuss the modifications they made and how it can be used to help others in their daily lives.

  • Sharing and receiving feedback on the invention is a great way to fuel another round of remixing, playing and sharing.

  • Snap photos of the final invention!

Give girls a preview of the next session:

  • Next week, we will start our first open challenge where you will create a unique invention from a prompt we give you (announce changemaker or chain reaction depending on which your site will do next).

 

Reflect

5 Min

🦉MENTORS: 

Reflect with your mentee: “What is one new thing that you learned during this challenge?”

 

Close

10 Min

Wrap Up

🦉MENTORS: 

  • Make sure girls power off the Power Bit and disconnect the battery.

  • Deconstruct inventions: Make sure to take pictures of what girls have made. Girls may take home the paper portion of their invention if they like.

  • Clean up: Make sure girls have all the parts shown on the side of the box and put them away in the kit.

🐙SITE COORDINATORS:

  • Announce Super Important Homework: Before next session, girls should go on DIY.org (previously JAM.com), select a topic that sounds interesting, participate in 1 challenge, and upload to the community. You will discuss it next time!

  • Store kits away for next time 

 

Log Your Session

Tell Us How It Went

Your feedback is essential to help us improve the program!

🐙SITE COORDINATORS

🦉MENTORS 

After the session, please fill out the Session Feedback Form

Get Social! 

📷 We love to see invention in action! Take photos/videos of your session and tag us on social with the hashtag #snapthegap. *Please make sure you have sharing authorization from parents and your affiliated organization before posting.