On March 6th, the children at the Marshall University Early Education STEAM Center began exploring robotics components. The children used their senses to question components such as: LED Lights, Tri-Color Lights, Motors, and a Hummingbird. Manipulating each component and discussing their purpose created an interesting invitation for children.
As an extension to this "initial exploration", the children used the Visual Programming software to further explore, "Do---->Happen". What do you have to "do" to make something "happen"? Many children noticed that by pressing computer keys or dragging their finger across the trackpad, "lights would turn on" or "motors would move". Through engagement and collaboration, "Mingle" was created!
After concluding our exploration phase of components and programming, the children began discussing ideas for a classroom-bot. "Mix and Mingle" (robotic drink mixers), were introduced to us from a friend's adventure on "The Harmony of the Seas". All of the children enjoyed viewing "Mix and Mingle" work and serve the guests on the cruise ship. Some children commented on their movement stating, "It looks like they're dancing."
Through research and collaboration, the children selected recyclables, painted their materials and programmed their bot to move and serve as "Mix and Mingle". After completing their program sequence, several children decided to name their classroom-bot, "Mingle" and he was later placed in the housekeeping for the children to use. As a conclusion to this engineering invitation, the children created a classroom drink menu and an iPad for them to use while ordering.
Follow our learning process with the pictures below:
Play and Explore.
"I see this can stick in here. I need some help with the blue wire."
"Here, you press it down and I'll stick the wires in."
Exploring the Visual Programming software.
"I see it moving."
"I hear it moving."
"This is Mix and Mingle on 'The Harmony of the Seas'. I got Pink-Pop from Mingle."
"Let's use this for the shaker-cup so he can mix our drinks."
"Can I have some lemonade, please?"
"I want him to mix it faster. Let's change it."
Painting Mingle's base.
We worked together to create a new body for Mingle.
The children finalized Mingle's movement sequence.
"This can be the iPad for our drinks. I want this button to be brown for coke. I like coke."
"Mingle, can I have some hot chocolate?"