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The Robot Book

Found in: math, science, preK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

The Robot Book: Build & Control 20 Electric Gizmos, Moving Machines, And Hacked Toys is a book by Bobby Mercer (2014).  The Robot Book shows students how to use simple tools and recycled electronic parts, electric motors, old toys, craft sticks, straws, and even things as unlikely as the bristle heads of toothbrushes to make simple robots. Many of the robots are assembled with nothing more complicated than tape making them suitable for math, science, and technology students in grades 3-5, though the author points out that soldering will make the connections permanent. More complicated projects requiring soldering are best for grades 6-8. The first project, Brush Bot, uses a cell phone or pager vibrator motor and a toothbrush. Two variations on the Brush Bot follow. One of the more complicated projects requires an old computer CD drive to build a Jack-In-The-Bot. A 9V battery is the only power necessary. Two versions are described, one with tape and one with solder. All projects list materials and tools. Photos illustrate crucial steps. This book is FREE at your local library or available for sale at The author also recommends robot websites, books, and kits: 

  • In What Is A Robot?, students in grade 3-5 science and technology explore robots, including ones they may encounter daily and learn about robot design and testing.
  • Robotics, LEGO, first day… What do I do?! asks K-12 science and technology students to compare two sets of LEGO parts and to understand how observation is used robotics. LEGO offers additional ideas for lessons in robotics.
  • Robotic Lesson Plans is a NASA collection of lessons and activities for K-12 science and technology. One of the K-12 activities is The International Space Station: The First Step In Exploration Poster, which provides a downloadable poster and two demonstration videos for the activities.
  • In the seven-day unit Introduction to Robotics students in grade 9-12 math and science examine the field of robotics, how robots work, and the roles robots have in society. The lesson lists Common Core standards, ITEEA Standards for Technology Literacy, and Next Generation Science Standards.
  • Robotics and Future Technology students in grade 9-12 math and science learn how the Navy and other industries use robots, the importance of robots in certain jobs, and then design their own robots to help extinguish fires.


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