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7th Grade - Robotics and Sensors

Go to the very bottom of this page for directions on cardboard automata you'll be researching 

7th Grade - Robotics and Sensors

For this unit we'll be doing some research on robots and sensors and how they work, and then we'll build the mBot and focuse on robot nagivation both user controlled and autonomous.   Next, we'll build some cardboard animatronic puppets, then we'll wrap up by programming the mBot controller, the mCore with sensors to respond to the environment and measure and track data.

In 7th grade, we'll also continue to use the laser cutter and 3D printer to create original works.

Use this website: Beginning Robotics: Understanding how Simple Sensors Work to answer the following questions in complete sentences in your Engineering Notebook.
  1. What is required for a robot to truly be a robot?
  2. What's crucial to undertanding how to make a robot smart?
  3. That is a common sensor that's inexpensive and widely used?
  4. What are the three parts of a decision loop?  Describe each of the three.
  5. We want to create a robot that can sense obstacles in front of it, think whether it can move forward or if it should reverse, and then act on that decision.  This logic can apply to any robot, with any sensor for nearly every behavior.  Draw a diagram to show this decision loop.
  6. What's the problem with this deision loop and how can it be fixed?
  7. Create a NEW sense-think-act loop that makes it work better.  Draw your improved sense-think-act loop.  Describe what you did to make it work better?

For the mBot's we'll be programming them using Scratch for mBots called Make.  Scratch will help make your robot smort by performing the sense-think-act loop with the many sensors we'll be using.


  • Lessons
    • Lesson 1 - Program your mBot to drive using the arrows on your keyboard.
    • Lesson 2 - Program your mBot to turn the motors on when you get within 10 cm the ultrasonic sensor and off when you are more than 10 cm away.  See simple programming examples below an sample code below.







  • Lesson 3 - Program the onboard light sensor to play a note when the light gets below a certain level

See video and details at:







  • Lesson 4 - Program the ultrasonic sensor to trigger a servo to open and close a box every 5 seconds

See video at:




Robot Petting Zoo

Cardboard Automata

You'll be using this link:

to ASK, IMAGINE and PLAN your own cardboard automata that you'll be building with a partner of your choice.  

Good overview video of making an automata

  • Begin by answer the following questions in complete sentences about cardboard automata.
    • What is a cardboard automata?
    • What simple machine elements do they use?
    • List required materials and extra things you can add.
    • List several motions which can be made with a cardboard automata.
    • What is a cam and what does it do?
    • What are some possible stories for your cardboard automata?
  • Now you can begin planning.
    • Using the list of materials from above, list the materials for YOUR automata.
    • Draw a sketch of your automata.  Show the story you are telling.  Label the different parts.
  • Make sure BOTH your names are clearly marked on the FRONT of your planning sheet.
  • We'll begin building next time we meet.  Bring any special supplies you might need with you that day.