Today, we built robots!
Both the bots were built from kits. The first one was called the Rookie Solar Racer. It was a nice easy build which Jack accomplished pretty much on his own.
We used a wrench to tighten a nut, but no other tools were required.
Sadly, this little guy just wasn't very powerful. He definitely needed sun power (flashlight didn't work), but it didn't seem to drive his motor well enough to spin the wheels against any surface. We tried pavement at first, but that was too rough. Then we tried this glass table top, but that was a no-go too. We will tweak him a bit and see if we can get him to work better. We don't like sad robots at our house. (Watch out Marvin!)
Our second robot build was called Herbie the Mousebot. We bought him from the Maker Shed a few months back. This kit was WAY more complicated. It involved heavy use of a soldering iron.
Jack and Ginny weren't very comfortable with trying out this new skill, but they both gave it a whirl. There were a couple of spots that were easy enough for them to solder. They helped bend resistors and hold pieces together and other such tasks, but I did most of the soldering.
We took a break half way through and headed out to see the Minions movie. That was a blast! When we got home, everyone else was worn out, so I finished up Herbie on my own. That's ok. They spent a couple hours soldering and building today.
Herbie is quite powerful! He rolls along at top speed. But he's got a couple quirks. I think the battery may not be at full power which causes some problems, and his whiskers get out of control when he bumps into things. But other than that, he seems to work pretty well. He's got light sensors for eyes, so he tries to steer towards light. His whiskers and tail have touch sensors which, when activated, make him back up. Herbie is a pretty cool dude.
That was our day of making! Tomorrow we're going to learn how to burn wood...and I don't mean campfires!
If you want more ideas for summer projects, check out Maker Camp. It's a 6 week online summer camp for young makers. They have some great ideas for building projects, and throw in learning at the same time!