Grade Range
3rd-5th
Group Size
1-2 students
Active Time
60 minutes
Total Time
60 minutes
Area of Science
Robotics
Key Concepts
Electricity, circuits, energy, engineering
Learning Objectives
  • Apply the engineering design process to iteratively test and improve a robot.
  • Understand the difference between open, closed, and short circuits.
Credits
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
Example images of vibrobots made from household materials

Vibrobots can be made from a wide variety of materials such as pipe cleaners, paper, paperclips, toothpicks and bottle caps.

Overview

Vibrobots are tiny robots powered by a vibrating motor, like the type found in cell phones. In this lesson plan, your students will learn about engineering design as they build their own vibrobots from craft materials. No previous experience with robots is required!

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions. Generate and compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the design problem.
ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions. At whatever stage, communicating with peers about proposed solutions is an important part of the design process, and shared ideas can lead to improved designs.
Systems and System Models. A system is a group of related parts that make up a whole and can carry out functions its individual parts cannot.

Materials


A coin cell battery, toothbrush head, vibration motor, and double sided tape

For each student or small group of students building a robot, you will need these items in the Bristlebot Robotics Kit from our partner Home Science Tools (also available as a Classroom Kit specially priced for teachers):

  • Vibration motor (1)
  • Coin cell battery (1)
  • Note: Kits are sold through our partner Jameco Electronics. Each kit contains enough parts for two vibrobots, as well as two Junkbots.

For the entire class, you will need assorted craft materials, such as:

  • Cardboard
  • Styrofoam®
  • Construction paper
  • Toothpicks
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Straws
  • Bottle caps
  • Paper clips
  • Googly eyes
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Disclaimer: Science Buddies participates in affiliate programs with Home Science Tools, Amazon.com, Carolina Biological, and Jameco Electronics. Proceeds from the affiliate programs help support Science Buddies, a 501(c)(3) public charity, and keep our resources free for everyone. Our top priority is student learning. If you have any comments (positive or negative) related to purchases you've made for science projects from recommendations on our site, please let us know. Write to us at scibuddy@sciencebuddies.org.

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Grade Range
3rd-5th
Group Size
1-2 students
Active Time
60 minutes
Total Time
60 minutes
Area of Science
Robotics
Key Concepts
Electricity, circuits, energy, engineering
Credits
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
Learning Objectives
  • Apply the engineering design process to iteratively test and improve a robot.
  • Understand the difference between open, closed, and short circuits.
Free science fair projects.