6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12
1 hour 15 minutes
Design & technology
Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.
Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.
– Asking Questions and Defining Problems
– Developing and Using Models
– Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
– Analyzing and Interpreting Data
– Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
– Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
– Engaging in Argument from Evidence
– Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Empower students to discover opportunities to make things more efficient and accessible for others. The Augmented Robotic Manipulator (A.R.M.) provides18-inches of extra reach for grabbing all types of objects. In this activity, students build and explore the A.R.M., identify its uses within the community, and imagine opportunities to enhance the design for a specific purpose or need.
ISTE Standards for Students
NGSS Science & Engineering Practices
For each Augmented Robotic Manipulator you will need:
- 1x Medium Plywood
- Rubber band
- Hook (included in design)
- Poster paper
- Sticky notes
- Optional: 1x Medium Draftboard
- Read through the activity details to review the steps for completing the activity.
- Gather all of the materials needed to print the design.
- Familiarize yourself with the Agency by Design protocol for Parts, Purpose, and Complexity.
- Consider printing an example A.R.M. for your students to help them visualize the assembled print.
- This activity is designed to help students think through the design process but not actually manipulate the design in the Glowforge app. Due to the complexity of this design, any actual redesign of the A.R.M. would need to be created in a third-party software and would require advanced design skills (which could be a fun challenge for a more advanced drafting class!)
Print – 16 minutes
Assemble – 45 minutes
Section 1 – Create:
- Break students up into small groups of 3-4.
- Open the Glowforge app. Have students open and print the Augmented Robotic Manipulator design on plywood or draftboard material.
- Have students assemble the A.R.M. using the directions in the Glowforge app. Guide students to consider how the parts and systems work as they assemble the A.R.M. by asking:
- What do you notice about the parts that pick items up?
- How do the string and rubber band work together to make the grip move?
- How does the lever work to move the grip?
Section 2 – Use:
- Review the Parts, Purpose, Complexity protocol with students.
- Ask: “What are the parts of the A.R.M. and how do they interact?” Have students create a rough sketch to record how the mechanisms in the A.R.M. make it move and grip items. Students can use the following questions for guidance.
- Parts – What are the A.R.M.’s various pieces or components?
- Purpose – What is the purpose for each of these parts?
- Complexity – What is the relationship between these parts? How do the parts work together to perform the purpose of the design?
- Have each group pair with another group and share what they observed. They should make a note of anything they may have missed in their own observations.
- In their original group, have students brainstorm school or community areas or specific users that might benefit from a tool like the A.R.M.
- Have groups discuss their list and pick one area or use case and circle their choice. Collect each group’s list and redistribute these as a design challenge. Just make sure no group gets the idea they wrote down.
- Ask groups to to brainstorm how to make adjustments to the A.R.M. based on the design challenge they were given. Remind students that they won’t be printing these finalized designs, so no possibilities are too big. Have groups consider:
- How might the A.R.M. be changed or adapted for this design challenge? Can we adjust the length or weight to make it more accessible to different needs?
- What materials could be used to augment the design to make it more functional for a specific task? Can we change the grip to pick up more delicate or fine items?
- Have groups create a drawing of their A.R.M. changes and adaptations on poster paper and write a brief statement about what they changed and why.
- Post each group’s work around the room and do a gallery walk. Have other groups leave comments with sticky notes. Encourage students to offer feedback to each group by:
- Making suggestions to improve the design.
- Asking questions about things that seem unclear about the design.
- Have groups take time to read and reflect on the feedback they received from their peers. Groups should make any revisions to their drawings as needed.
Help students consider…
- What new design ideas do you have about using this print or the materials used to make it?
- How did your group collaborate to ensure that everyone had a voice and contributed throughout the activity?
- Consider replacing the plywood material for Medium Draftboard material, which is unfinished, so students can customize the A.R.M. with paint and other crafting items.
- Donate the A.R.M.s created in this project to elementary classrooms, libraries, or local stores for others to use. Or disassemble, store, and reuse the parts with future classes.
- A reminder that this activity is imagining the possibilities of a tool like this. If students want to manipulate this design they will have to recreate the A.R.M. Due to the complexity of this design, any actual redesign of the A.R.M. would need to be created in a third-party software and would require advanced design skills.
- Let’s explore automation! How could we automate our robotic arm? Challenge students’ understanding of design and STEAM concepts by adding movement options from simple hydraulics created with tubes and syringes to more complex builds like Arduino boards connected to servo motors to make the robotic arm move.
- Create a complex design challenge! Based on what the students learned in this process, have them use a third-party design software, like Inkscape, to redesign the A.R.M.’s components to meet a specific user’s needs.
The magical 3D laser printer that made this lesson possible. Learn more!