STEM Lesson Series Lesson 4: Robots

For Grades: K - 6+

Step 1 - Introduction


Lesson Overview

What is a robot? Technically, a robot is any machine that can do work. More specifically, it is a machine that can think, sense, and act. Robots are often designed to do specific tasks that are dangerous for humans, repetitive, or difficult. Robots have been talked about throughout history, even in ancient Greek myths! Robots that can sense and think are more recent because they need sensors to “sense” and computer brains to “think”. Today you will design a robot that solves the problem.

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Photos from Nerds

Step 2 - Learn More

For All Ages

How to make a Ford Fiesta

(2 min) This video shows how a car is manufactured. There are lots of robots involved in this process because many of these tasks are repetitive, difficult, or dangerous for people. With the help of robots, a car can be completed in about three days!

For All Ages


(2 min) I need this robot to make me breakfast every morning. How about you?

For All Ages

Warehouse Robots

(3 min) When you order a product or toy online, do you know how it gets to your house? A lot of times products are stored in a large warehouse. Robots help to find what you ordered and bring the whole shelf to a person that can then pack your toy and send it to you!

Step 3 - Your Project


Create a Robot

  • Challenge: Create a robot that solves a problem!
    • Materials
      • Paper
      • Pencil
    • Design a robot to solve a problem! Use the Engineering Design Process!
      • Ask – Go on a problem hunt. Take a notebook with you! Walk around your house and see what problems you have. Maybe it is a problem that a family member has. Write down each problem. Pick your favorite or the most interesting problem.
      • Imagine– Start thinking of possible solutions. How could a robot help solve this problem? What would it look like? How would it work?
      • Plan – Draw a detailed plan of your robot. Show any pieces that would move and label the parts. Will it need a computer brain? Will it need sensors?
      • Create – It sure would be fun to build this robot at your house! Since that is probably not possible, you can use your imagination!
      • Improve – Sometimes it helps to improve a design collaborating, or working with, with someone else. Tell a family member or call a friend on the phone. Describe the problem and solution you’ve created using a robot. Ask for feedback. Do they have an idea that would make your robot even better?
      • Share – See step 4


Step 4 - Share


Share with someone you love!

Share with someone you love! Today’s recommendation is to tell your teacher. Maybe you can take a picture of your design and email them! You could also write them a message.

  • Possible things to email about:
    • What did you build?
    • What did you learn?
    • What problems did you run into?
    • How did you solve them?

Step 5 - Go Deeper


Do some additional research on your problem. Do any products already exist to solve it?

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