Practical Robotics Workshop with Arduino

Duration: 6-12 hours in one or several sessions
Age group: 7-15
Preliminary knowledge: None
Used technology: Arduino-based robotic kits, safely designed by ESI CEE for children and visual programming languages, such as Scratch or Snap.
Orchestration: teams of 3-5 students work together

ESI CEE has developed a custom Arduino-based robotics kit. Among the advantages of the kit is its cost-effectiveness, further supported by including easily replaceable and adaptable standard components. The kit is specifically designed to be used safely by children – to assemble the parts you do not need to a soldering iron or sharp tools. Compared to other robotics platforms for young students in which the electronic components are not directly visible (black box) the ESI CEE Arduino robotic kit uses, with some minor modifications, original engineering elements such as Arduino Uno board or other adapted compatible microcontrollers, ultrasonic sensors, motor drivers, LEDs and resistors. This way, young researchers are enabled to make their first steps in electronics and robotics by experiencing technology in a way they rarely see it – as a white box. Children assemble the robot through a visual guide, consisting of only photos and no instruction, allowing them to learn through a constructionist pedagogical approach.

The elements in the robotics kit are connected through a breadboard using wires. Moreover, the mechanical parts are fixed together with plastic pins which allow the tank to be easily assembled and disassembled many times. The assembled robot is a small tank that can be controlled with either a PC using USB cable or a Bluetooth module. Furthermore, the tank can be programmed to run autonomously through a program uploaded to the controller.

In addition to the Arduino IDE, ESI CEE adapted a program code that allowed young students to control the robot using visual languages such as Scratch and Snap.

During the educational robotics workshops based on the kit, the students are able to learn the basic concepts of robotics through demonstrations and games. Together, with the support of the tutors and through visual instructions, the students assemble the robot that they will program to perform simple tasks with visual programming software. In order to assemble the robot, children work in groups. The workshop also includes a creativity seminar based on the mind-mapping concept of Tony Buzan, which aims to encourage children to discover additional practical applications of robotics in various fields of science and in everyday life. Attaching a pen to the tank is easy and useful for the students to learn basic mathematical concepts such as circles, angles, proportions and others.

Since the beginning of 2016, more than 500 students participated in workshops, based on the Arduino-kit developed by ESI, having rated their experience with an average score of 4.9 out of 5.

The robotic kit design, as well as the corresponding educational robotics curricula, are shared and updated in a public repository in order to be easily accessible to other tutors and contributors.


« 1 of 13 »

Visualizing mathematics with the Mathbot

Duration: 6-8 hours in one or several sessions
Age group: 9-11 (4th grade)
Preliminary knowledge: Basics of visual programming & robotics, 3d grade knowledge in mathematics
Used technology: The Finch robot by Birdbrain Technologies programmable using Scratch visual programming language.
Orchestration: teams of 3-5 students work together

The aim of this workshop is to support the national education curriculum for mathematics for the 4th grade by introducing some of the mathematical concepts envisaged in it, so that we nourish children’s interest in mathematics and support their confidence and curiosity related to the subject.

We visualize some of the mathematics’ basics with the Mathbot – a Finch robot, developed by BirdBrain Technologies, that the children program in order to solve various math problems. We use programming to boost logical thinking and showcase the practicality of mathematics with cool devices, such as robots. In this workshop, with the aid of Mind Maps and visual programming, children exercise their knowledge of circles, semicircles, radius, diameter, angles and how to measure them, as well as arithmetic functions. With the means of robotics, we have created fun games in which children solve mathematical problems with measuring tools, such as protractor and ruler, Mind Maps and creativity.

We believe that mathematics is fun. And we know how to show you.


« 1 of 7 »