Grade 7 Robotics Class Showcases Animatronics Creations

Grade 7 robotics students applied Scratch coding and plenty of imagination to create several interactive, moveable and smart animatronic devices using the Hummingbird Robotics system. Their toolbox included different sensors for light, sound, temperature, and distance, a servo motor, gear motor, and vibration motor, as well as tri-colored LED lights and rotary knobs. 
During a robotics expo, students demonstrated how their smart devices come to life when triggered by sound, touch or light. Their creations included a turtle, an office, a dog, a French cafe, a kitchen, an owl, a ladybug, a gumball machine, a haunted house, a vending machine and a softball field. 
The animatronics project involves an interactive process of coding, designing, building, testing and making refinements to the code and project design, Computer Science teacher Hope Chafiian said. Each device uses various sensors or motors with different functionality. 
“The class has been working on activities to learn how to program sensors and motors,” Chafiian noted, adding that students have also been “experimenting with how to read the sensor values and write different types of conditional statements to make LEDs and motors run depending on the different sensor readings.”
Among the Grade 7 creations were several interactive animals, including an owl that wiggles its ears when triggered by a loud noise, a dog with a light device that signals whether he is happy or angry, and a turtle that pulls its head back when you touch it or lays an egg if you clap your hands. Several designs focused on creating environments, such as a baseball field with spectators who jump up when there is a home run, a haunted house with flashing lights and window blinds that move up and down, and a smart kitchen with an oven that pops open with a 10-second timer. Finally, there was an abundance of sweet rewards, with an automated vending machine and a sound-activated gumball dispenser.