This is a scribble bot. It’s a pretty simple machine: just a basket body, a motor, a battery, and a weight. When you attach some markers to it, it makes a design.

That’s all! So why do we keep coming back to the scribble bot? Is it because they’re easy to make and kinda cute? (Well, that’s certainly a factor.) No, but the main point of the scribble bot is its variability. If any part of the bot is changed even a little bit, you can see the difference in the drawing it produces.

We asked students to keep track of what they changed, and how that affected their drawing. They found that, for example, the lines the bot drew were straighter if they used a bigger basket for the body. If they changed the position of the motor, the design would change. If they changed the structure of the bot in any way, they could clearly see a visual representation of that change on paper.

We’re using these scribble bots to teach the scientific method. How cool is that?

 

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