A Programmable Zoo - Computational Creatures 3.5

For the last two days of our computational creatures camp, the group worked in pairs to create micro:bit & moto:bit powered animals for final project inspired by robot petting zoo. We showed two examples of a lightning hamster and a music loving alligator. Then everyone got requirements from "chuck the zoo keeper" to make a plan with construct elements with two types of motion, a switch and a sensor.  


Initial ideas for projects ranged from a series of variations on a dragon theme, a mouse named bob, a light up unicorn, and a bamboo toting panda. 


Campers initially started working with a wide variety of materials as their ideas began to take shape. We provided a wide variety of scrounged switches, sensors, motors and craft materials to help bring the creations to life. 


At the end of thursday, we had a lot of work to do on the projects but everyone had some small sucesses and were excited about the next day's work.  


We started friday morning by walking around the room and sharing ideas about each project. It was great to see how the group encouraged eachother to steal and remix ideas around both the code and the electronic components. 


We worked for about an hour and a half before lunch and then for another hour in the afternoon. It was great to see how focused the groups were on troubleshooting issues with their code and debugging the elements. Lots of collaboration was also on display as campers worked together on different parts of the final project. 

As we got closer to the grand opening of the computational creatures zoo, campers wrote out labels for their robotic animals and set up the room as an exhibition. Parents, friends, siblings and family members came for the last half-hour of camp to see the what the group worked on over the week. We were so impressed with the complex ideas that everyone explored and the process that they went through to bring their ideas to life. 

A couple great examples included this red dragon with a wagging tail and a fire breathing function when you touched a homemade switch made with copper tape. 

Another blue dragon had an ingenious use of servo motors and a really nice mechanism to light up LED eyes and open the mouth. 

Other creatures had interesting movements, lights that responded to pressure sensors, wagging tails and lots of other interesting and complex elements.

This theme was a great way to end the week of explorations of robotics, electronics and creative coding and it was great to see campers combine ideas that we investigated during the week into some really amazing final projects.