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National Robotics Week Is Here! Good Stuff for Special Days by Becky Rupp

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National Robotics Week is here!

Good Stuff for Special Days by Becky Rupp

This weekend marked the beginning of National Robotics Week (April 10-18), which aims to publicize the role that robots play in everything from agriculture and medicine to warfare, manufacturing, transportation, and space exploration.

And of course robots are just plain cool.

Visit for more on National Robotics Week. The site includes a list of resources for kids, including a two-page introduction to robotics (“What Is a Robot?”), Internet scavenger hunts geared to a range of ages, a bibliography of fiction books on robots, a history of robotics timeline, and a lesson plan and project – “Introduction to engineering design process via paper airplanes” – developed by a robotics teacher at a Boston public high school.

For more robots, also see:

For elementary-level robot lovers, Activity Village’s Robots has instructions for fun-looking robot crafts, among them a robot mask, a robot costume, a robot collage project, and even a recipe for a very healthy edible robot. Also on the site are printable coloring, puzzle, and worksheet pages.

TigerRobotFrom Wired magazine’s GeekDad,  here’s a quick overview of recommended robot kits for kids of various ages. The simplest of the bunch (suitable for kids beyond the “eating stuff” stage, says GeekDad) is a walking Mechanical Tiger.

From Lego Mindstorms, take a look the NXT 2.0 kit, which includes all the components for a collection of wonderful robots for kids to build and program on their own. It’s pricey (about $275) but it’s an entire education in a box.

The NASA-sponsored Robotics Alliance Project has general information on robots, news and updates, challenges and competitions, and an archive of online robotics classes.

From California’s Tech Museum, Robotics, a history of robotics, a list of discussion questions on the ethics of robotics, a gallery of robot art, and an interactive remotely operated vehicle for visitors to steer about on their own, either on the Earth or the moon. Also included is a list of robot-based classroom activities.

NASA’s Space Place site has illustrated instructions and a downloadable pattern for building your own balloon-powered nanorover from Styrofoam meat trays and drinking straws. Included is information about the real nanorover, designed for exploring asteroids.

Robot Café is a terrific source for hobby robotocists, with lists of suppliers, clubs, and competitions, feature articles and video clips on robots in the news, and a gallery of home-built robots.

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