Wednesday, May 4, 2016

From Toothbrush to Scribble Bot

For our STEAM classes this week, I finally was able to try building scribble bots using electric toothbrushes from the Dollar Tree.  The great Ramsey Musallam gave me the idea and inspiration. Originally it was my goal to have the students cut the toothbrushes apart to get the motors out, however, after trying at home with my 10 year old son, we decided it was too daunting for the students to do (however, I did advise them to try it with a parent at home if they wanted).  Here is the process:

STEP 1: Take apart the toothbrushes - I will give you some tips but I think it is more fun if you figure it out on your own (read my last blog post about letting students struggle ;-)
  • Here are some handy tools to use - my new favorite tool is PVC pipe cutters!  It also helps if you recruit help, our school board president helped me dig 10 motors out yesterday.
  • Break off the head, take the bottom off and cut away!

Once you have the motor out you can decide if you want to keep your other pieces and re-purpose those in your makerspace.  

STEP 2: Create Scribble Bots - I first got the idea of scribble bots from the book, The Art of Tinkering

  • I tweaked the supplies to use a swimming noodle instead of a strawberry basket container.  
  • We used 9 volt batteries because that is what I had and they were WAY too powerful (they were sparking and made the wires HOT so I'm toning down the volts (or I am working on adding a resistor to tone down the voltage)
Here are some pictures of the resulting Scribble Bots from the fourth/fifth grade multi-age class I worked with.  

I will be building these with a first/second grade multi-age class tomorrow and a second/third grade class on Friday. I am also in the process of creating a hyperdoc to go with the lesson and will add it here when it is completed tomorrow before I use it.

Happy Scribbling!

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