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Getting Started

Test Your Components

Today we’ll be using circuits to power motors that set things in motion.

  1. Find your Shake It Board.

  2. Place a battery into your battery pack with the smooth positive side facing up.

  3. Turn the switch to “on.”

  4. What is causing the motion? Look closely at the shaft of the motor. (Hint: Unbalanced forces! Learn more about this type of motor in the glossary.)

Make a Racer

Step 1

Build your paper racer model.

  1. Color your race car template as desired.

  2. Assemble the paper template.

  3. Cut along the solid lines.

  4. Fold along the dotted lines.

  5. Glue or tape the tabs into place.

Step 2

Let’s add the motor and switch.

  1. Slip the Shake It Board into the body of the racer.

  2. Turn on the switch. (Figures 1a, 1b) What happens? Why?

Step 3

Time to customize!

  1. Gather materials such as drinking straws, pipe cleaners, paperclips, buttons, etc. Try making wheels or blades for your racer. How can you reduce friction so that the car moves more quickly? (Figure 1c, d)

  2. Try adding weight to different parts of the car to see how it affects the motion. Does the weight of the car affect the motion? How? Why?

Make a Vibrobot​

Step 1

A vibrobot is a tiny robot powered by a vibrating motor, like the type found in cell phones. let’s start by assembling the paper model.

  1. Color your vibrobot template as desired.

  2. Assemble the paper template.

  3. Cut along the solid lines.

  4. Fold along the dotted lines.

  5. Glue or tape the tabs into place.

  6.  

Step 2

Now we’ll attach the motor.

  1. Stick the disc motor to the back of your paper bot, near the bottom. (Figure 1e)

  2. Connect the red wire to the positive side (+) of a battery with Maker Tape. (Figure 1f)

  3. Use a loop of invisible tape to attach the battery to the back of the robot near the top with the positive side face down.

  4. Connect the blue wire to the negative side of the battery with Maker Tape. (Figure 1g)

Step 3

  1. Decorate your bot as you like. (Figure 1h)

  2. Try using paper clips as weight to adjust the balance of the robot and make him spin. Can you use items like drinking straws to make him move faster? Can you design a way to turn the bot on and off?

Step 4

  1. Compare the two bots. Swap the motors between the race car and vibrobot. Which do you prefer? Why?

  2. Try making a track for your race car or create a ring to battle your bots.

Sandy April 30, 2021
Sandy Roberts, has been a certified STEM educator for over 13 years. She shares her love of science, engineering, technology, and maker activities through her business, Kaleidoscope Enrichment, as the 2021 Maker Camp Coordinator, and as the author of The Big Book of Maker Camp Projects. As a scientist, a teacher, and a mom, she loves to learn with her students as they create and innovate. Read more about Maker Camp: Maker Camp Should Be a Part of Your Summer This Year Kaleidoscope Maker Camp: All STEM & Smiles My talk at World Maker Faire 2017, Six Years of Maker Camp: Tips and Reflections. Check out my playlist of activities from last year's Family Maker Camp! Find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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