This was an after school program that I put on for kids at my library.
I've been seeing this STEM activity floating around the internet for a while now. And I'm SO glad we finally did it here at our library! It was a hit with our after school crowd. I initially used the idea from this blog and the instructions found here.
But, of course, I did some of my own tweaks so here's my little tutorial...
Here are the basic materials that I collected for attendees. Every kid got one plastic cup, one motor, and one AA battery. It was helpful to find motors that already had the wires soldered on. I used the bulk option found on this website. I bought a few large packs of markers, and each kid got to pick three or four for their creation. Colored masking tape was also made available. Other decorations included stickers, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes. Popsicle sticks, clothes pins, and other odd scraps provided some weight and wiggle to get our bots to move. As you'll see in a second...
First up, taping some markers to the cup, point down:
Next, attaching the motor and battery to the top of the cup. Just make sure that the motor's axle is hanging off so it can spin and that the wires can reach the battery. I taped one wire to the end of the battery.
Now, it's ready to experiment with some weight on the motor (the clothespin here) and add some decorations. When it's all ready to go, the caps come off the markers and the other wire gets taped to the other end of the battery.
Really, I should just show you what the kids made. So cool!
The paper on our tables were thoroughly scribbled by the end of the hour's activity. Some of the kids did have trouble with the wires and getting them to stay stuck, so we did have some electrical tape on hand.
It was a great STEM-based activity because, while I gave them the basic set up, it was up to them to figure out what worked well for propulsion, weight distribution, and marker set up. It was a big success!
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