Let's Make Robots!

Robot kits in education

As some of you may know I have been teaching high school kids robotics (well so far programming) for several weeks now, seen here: http://letsmakerobots.com/node/36394.

I was approached last lesson by one of the school's 'organizing people' about holding an elective. Once a year the school takes a week off the curiculum for electives. The students get to choose which electives they would like to do (4 in total I think) and get to spend a whole day on each elective. This person asked me if it would be possible for me to hold a robotics elective, and ofcourse I agreed! (after checking my uni exam timetable).

Now this is all just in the preliminary talking stage but the date it would happen is the 19th of July. The idea still has to go past the Principal, and also an interest form with the students, if either of these don't happen than the elective won't happen. 

The good thing about the electives are that the people running them get a budget, be it a small one I believe, but still better than the zero budget for the robotics lessons I am doing currently. 

Now the point of this post is just to see what you guys think would be good for me to do in that day, so basically I'm just  crowdsourcing ideas. I could do it one of two ways;

  1. Make simple beambots that the kids can take home at the end of the day (good on the budget)
  2. Make bigger better robots, the downside being that they couldn't take them home, although they could probably work in groups to build them which could be just as good.

If you know of some cheap robot kits, would like to get your robot kits out in education + some free advertising on the YouTubes or know of some cheap and simple builds please comment below.

Like I said I am not completely aware of what the budget limits are but I thought it would be good to plan this early to save me last minute rushes the week before.

So please, please, please let me know what your thoughts are and I would be forever grateful for some advice/links.

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Wow thanks for all the comments! 

@bird I looked up that comp and there was some awesome stuff! 

@Lumi Looking at that comp I saw the stuff that you did with little materials, very inspiring

@K12 Depending on the budget I would love to get some Bob's, I think they would be perfect

@Duane Again more inspiring stuff!

So after looking at all of these things my mind is currently leaning towards making some arduino boards, getting some basic components/cheap electronic toys and having the kids prototype their own robots, with me there to help. 

I like this sort of idea as it means the kids dont have to work towards a predefined goal, they can make their own thing and do it their own way.

Since nobody listen to me in the SB I will just post it here :-)

http://letsmakerobots.com/node/32511 that's our entry for the AFRON last year. I am sure you can make a nice workshop with that and the kids will have lots of fun.

 

Thanks for posting here. I hadn't seen your little swarm bots before. They look great!

I've been trying to figure out a good but inexpensive robot.

Many of my ideas are listed in this thread in the Parallax Robotics Forum. Post #4 has links to many of the materials.

Just yesterday I figured out how to attach the $2.50 Vex wheels to some inexpensive HobbyKing servos. Make sure and take a look at post #42.

My robot uses a Propeller chip as the controller but you wouldn't need to change much to use it with a different microcontroller.

I'm still trying to figure out what the best battery solution.

I have found it's important (for reproducable speed) to have a battery pack voltage high enough to use a regulator. The switching regulators I use are on sale right now for $1.75.

why not have em build arduinos and take em home? 

best $10 robot. There were a number of them featured here, I think. I think some had uC, and, sensors.