Our second October meeting had nothing whatsoever to do with badges. It was all about art bots! I ran an art bot program at my library earlier in the week and decided to give it a go with my girls. It can easily take up an hour (most of which is spent on the “art” part).
I initially got the idea for art bots from The Show Me Librarian, and used the tutorial from the Cheshire Public Library. The basic idea is to create a doodling robot using an electric toothbrush motor, a pool noodle, rubber bands, and markers. Accessorize with pipe cleaners, feathers, etc… It’s fairly easy to do, even if you’re inept at building things.
It took about 20 minutes for 12 girls to build their robots. We had multiple moms on hand to help, but it was still somewhat hectic. 3rd and 4th grade is probably the youngest I would go without enough adults to do one-on-one. We had some near meltdowns when connections didn’t work and no adult was free to assist.
Once the girls built and customized their art bots, we went into the hall, unrolled a huge roll of butcher paper, and let them have at it for the rest of the meeting.
At various points, we did discuss how different sizes/shapes of markers and different flooring types might affect how the art bots doodled. Some of the bots only went in circles, some only went in straight lines, and girls were upset that their bot did one, but not the other. My assumption is how the bots moved had to do with how the motor vibrated. Different brushes vibrated differently. Probably not a good response, but the only one I had.
What I learned:
*Cheshire PL suggested having extra batteries (a necessity), but I also recommend having extra electric toothbrushes as well.
*The Dollar Tree carries the Luminart brand of electric toothbrush ($1 including a battery). However, none of the DT’s in my area did. Family Dollar carries the brand Dr. Fresh Velocity, which is essentially the same toothbrush.
*You definitely want to use rubber bands (thick ones, wrapped twice around the noodle) instead of tape. Markers need to be adjusted, and well…you just can’t do that once you’d duct taped them into place.