Makerspace Activities That Lead to Robotics

Laura Jakubowski
PD Specialist
News on January 10 2019


What is a Makerspace?

“Makerspaces” are a hot topic in education. They’re also one of the most important places where students can learn applicable skills with real, tangible materials in front of them. Most teachers who create makerspaces include a good bit of “making,” be it with wood, plastic, recyclable material, or everyday objects. Then, they complement it with technology such as Arduino boards, pi-tops, or robotics.

We’ve collected a few favorite projects that you can complete in your makerspace. These makerspace activities will lead students to understand materials, mechanics, and design prior to building robots and coding them.

Hear are three fantastic makerspace classroom projects that lead students to robotics

1. Build a “Robotic” Hand

Leads student to: Robotics and Coding
Students will learn how to create a robotic hand and engineer its movements with pulls of string. This type of project can lead to discussions about joints, bones, and human movement, as well as discussions on the next steps: coding robot movement, designing a robotic hand, and realistic logistics of movement.

2. Float a Boat

Leads student to: Robotics machinery and the Engineering Design Process
Creating a boat with students is seriously fun, as I found out in a classroom a few days ago. Give the students limited materials, and then have them construct their boat to sink or float. The real strength of this project lies in introducing students to a key concept of STEM: that there is more than one way to solve a problem. This means that designing a product is about constantly revising and modifying in the improvement stage. Thus, this project is the perfect way to introduce your students to the Engineering Design Process, which is commonly used in Robotics.

3. Build a Balloon-Powered Car

Leads students to: Robotics and 3D printing
Determining how to power a car is not an easy feat, but sometimes designing a car can be even tougher. With this project, students will be forced to think about space, weight, height, width, velocity, movement, and force. All important concepts! This type of project lends itself nicely to first designing on paper, and then designing in a CAD software to 3D print your design. This is the true marriage of making + technology in makerspaces.

Watch the video below to learn more about the project, or visit the link.

Just remember, there are hundreds of cool projects out there for your makerspace. Look around the interwebs and our Teq Online PD platform to find awesome things to try with your students to make the most of your STEM labs and makerspaces!

To learn more about teaching students STEM in your classroom, check out our library of courses on STEM Education.

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