I learned about "ArtBots" or "Brushbots" at last year's STEAM focused symposium hosted at Moore College of Art & Design. I left Chris Sweeney's Maker session totally inspired and with a promise to myself that I would try to implement some bots into my curriculum within the next year!
First, I was off to my local Dollar Tree to find a few simple motorized toothbrushes and practicing the art of extracting the motor from the plastic brush body. I admit, it took me a few practice tries. I ended up damaging some of the motor connections on my first few attempts. I definitely recommend practicing on several brushes before your go live with the kiddos!
To kick off the exploratory lesson, I showed a few inspirational videos from YouTube. We particularly enjoyed the advice and antics of of Simone Giertz, the host of ToyHackers. You can check out her endless list of cool toy hacks here.
The bot project was a good way to teach kiddos the parts of a motor. It helped to illustrate key science concepts such as FRICTION, MOMENTUM, CIRCUIT, and WEIGHT. Art wise, it was a super exercise in LINE QUALITY. Our bots made so many crazy, unpredictable lines! The project marries art and science because the students need to, essentially, create a sculpture that is aerodynamic and light enough to be propelled by the small motor. Please enjoy our video below to see our art bots in action!
Sunny is an art teacher who is living the dream. The only thing she enjoys more than her curious students are the adventures she has with her loving husband and cat in the fabulous city of Philadelphia!
Artful Artsy Amy
The Department of Making + Doing
The Philadelphia Museum of Art