Planning a RPZ

  1. You will need enough robotics kits to have approximately one kit for each pair of students. If you are working with an underprivileged population, it may be possible to borrow Hummingbird robotics kits from Birdbrain Technologies. If you use Hummingbirds, you will also need to have training and/or experience with the Hummingbird.
  2. Consider your time frame; refer to the Schedule to get an idea of the activities involved and the time required. A minimum of 15-20 hours will be necessary to complete a makeathon and petting zoo. Participants need enough time to craft and program a high quality robot animal! 
  3. You may choose to complete the makeathon over a few consecutive all-day sessions, or you may decide to distribute the makeathon sessions over a longer period. When considering your options, aim for sessions that are at least two hours long. Shorter sessions mean that participants have to spend a larger proportion of their time setting up and cleaning up. Also, longer gaps between sessions mean that participants will spend more time on review.
  4. Find a space! You will need space for making. If your makeathon will occur over a longer period, you may also need space to store the robot animals. You should also consider if you will hold the petting zoo showcase in the same location as the Makeathon, or if you will need to move the animals for the petting zoo.
  5. Think about how you will arrange for your community to interact with the animals at the robot petting zoo. We recommend that the petting zoo take place as part of the final makeathon session so that all the makers are there to demonstrate their animals.
  6. Find participants! This activity will work best when all participants agree to complete the entire makeathon and attend the petting zoo. The makeathon is appropriate for middle and high school students. More experienced students may be able to build more complex animals, but a range of ages and experience levels can be accommodated. 
  7. Gather all your materials. Refer to the Materials page for a list of suggested items. You can also encourage your makers to bring materials from home! A robot animal is a great way to reuse boxes, fabric scraps, and many other materials.
  8. Work through all of the exercises in the Teaching the Basics page. including building the practice pets. You want to make sure that you are comfortable with the material before the makeathon. 
  9. Finally, invite community members to the robot petting zoo!