Running a RPZ

  1. Start by introducing your makers to the ideas of the makeathon and petting zoo. An icebreaker may be helpful if participants do not know one another.
  2. Introduce the makers to the Hummingbird robotics kit and Scratch. Information and exercises are also included in Makeathon Programming Slides. You should also distribute copies of the Connecting Electronics comic. This can serve as a reference for the makers throughout the makeathon.
  3. The Hummingbird servos and motors rotate, but mechanisms can be used to transform this rotation into other types of movement. Use the Makeathon Mechanisms Slides to introduce your makers to this idea. 
  4. Have participants build a practice pet. For younger students, the Feedable Pet may be more appropriate. For high school students, we strongly recommend the Llama so that students can gain experience with mechanisms.
  5. Now participants are ready to begin creating their own robot animals! Encourage students to spend time brainstorming and carefully planning their animal. Creating a careful plan can help makers identify and avoid potential problems. Planning is time well spent!
  6. The makers will spend most of the rest of the makeathon building, programming, testing, and revising their animal. Encourage them to test frequently as they add components to their robots and expressions to their program. It is always a good idea to build, program, and test the animal in stages. Makers who complete the entire animal before beginning to program will usually end up disassembling it when testing reveals problems.
  7. Be sure to save some time at the end to get ready for the petting zoo. Makers should create signs explaining how to interact with their animal.
  8. Enjoy the petting zoo!