4-H Youth Development Program
4-H Youth Development Program
4-H Youth Development Program
University of California
4-H Youth Development Program

Junk Drawer Robotics

4-H Robotics: Engineering for Today and Tomorrow

The 4-H Robotics: Engineering for Today and Tomorrow curriculum is designed in three tracks. In Track 1 (Virtual Robotics), youth can participate using the virtual activities on-line or via a DVD-ROM.  Track 2 (Junk Drawer Robotics) encourages youth to use household materials to engineer robotic designs. In Track 3 (Platforms) youth with access to specific educational robotics platforms (Lego, VEX, Robotix, etc.). More information on this national curriculum may be found at http://www.4-h.org/resource-library/curriculum/4-h-robotics/.

State 4-H Contact:  Steven Worker at smworker@ucanr.edu.

Financial support provided by:
 
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Junk Drawer Robotics

Junk Drawer Robotics engages middle school youth in engineering design through the use of common household items. The curriculum was developed to focus on scientific and engineering practices; frame activities in the experiential learning cycle; and promote small group collaborative learning (Mahacek & Worker, 2011). The 4-H Junk Drawer Robotics program offers a useful way of engaging youth in engineering design using robotics. In each module, youth learn about an underlying scientific or engineering concept related to robotics. As youth progress through the curriculum, their knowledge of the multidisciplinary nature of robotics grows. At the end of the three levels, youth design and build a robot using what they have learned.

Curriculum Outline

Level 1: Give Robots a Hand
In this level youth will be exploring and learning about robot arms.  The arm is one of the most useful and imitated parts of the human body. It is flexible with joints; shoulder, elbow, wrist, that allow it to be placed in many positions to reach and grab. The hand with its fingers and thumb can grab, hold, pick up, and more. Designs for robot arms can allow a robot to be used to grab, lift, move, or position items into a machine, to control a spot welder, or to assemble parts for an item.

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Level 2: Robots on the Move
Mobile robots make up an array of applications allowing robots to go and do things in locations and situations that humans would not like or could not go. Mobile robots can go into dangerous situations, can fly, go under water, traverse remote areas or planets, carry instruments and sensors, and much more.  In this level youthwill explore legged, wheeled, and underwater robots. We will explore friction, basic electrical power and motors, engineering constraints, gears systems, and buoyancy.

Level 3: Mechatronics
For greater control and usefulness, robots merge mechanical objects with electronic components. In this level, youth will explore components of electronic devices and basic programming elements. Various sensors will be used to help robots explore the world and react in programmed control.

Each model contains a number of activities in these phases:

To Learn Science
To Learn: Science is finding out how things work. These activities emphasize exploration and form the foundation upon which youth build conceptual understanding.
To Do Engineering
To Do: Engineering is designing something to work from what you discovered. These activities build upon the knowledge gained in the exploration phase related to the concepts in the module. Youth are presented with a design problem and work together to design and plan a solution.
To Make Technology
To Make: Technology is using tools and processes to make something work. These activities
allow youth to build and test their design while solidifying their understanding of the concepts.

4-H Robotics Showcase, August 2012

 

Basic Starter Set of Activity Supplies

Tools and Supplies

Learn more about Junk Drawer Robotics: 

Facilitator Resources

Academic Posters

Publications & Reports

Photographs

 

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