Building Robots for Homeschooled Children

When it comes to fun and interactive homeschool lesson plans, try building a robot from scratch. This is great to get your children interested in science and engineering, an area of interest that not enough American children are skilled in. Building a robot is great for tactile learners who like to discover the world using their hands. It is also a great way to be able to demonstrate basic scientific concepts like electricity and the scientific method.

Building a robot from scratch is not too difficult. Here is a list of items you can start with:

  • 2 small motors
  • 2 three-way switches
  • 1 AA battery holder
  • a 1”x3” piece of aluminum
  • shielding gasket
  • 2 spade connectors
  • heat shrink tubing
  • 1 small bead
  • paper clips

That’s it! Many of these items can be found at an electronics store, an educational store, or even online outlets that specialize in creating electronic items. Some of the items like the shielding gasket or spade connectors are specialty items while other items like paper clips and a bead may be already in your household. There are many tutorials on the internet you can use to create a robot. Try searching videos on YouTube to find child-friendly videos that are easy to follow.

Beyond offering your child an opportunity to tinker around, building robots will have lots of other long lasting effects long after the activity is complete.

  1. Provide an introduction to computer programming. Getting children to make a connection between building an inanimate object that you can program to do things is exactly what computer programming is about.
  2. Produce creative thinkers. What you can program a robot to do is only limited by your imagination. Activate your child’s natural curiosity by giving them the tools and allowing them to work uninterrupted for hours. Creative thinkers make the best problem solvers.
  3. Create independent learners. Traditional school systems are often built on the nation that everything needs to be taught by an adult who knows everything. Building robots offers the child an opportunity to learn by discovery. What better way to explain how a shielding gasket or small motor works than through project based learning?
  4. Create healthy competition. Robot building competitions are becoming more popular for children of all ages. This is a great opportunity for home schooled children to socialize with other like-minded children.