The best robotics projects for teens to try out

Source: Pixabay

There’s been a real drive for children to get involved in STEM subjects. Coding became part of the National Curriculum in England in 2014 and pupils are now regularly competing in computing competitions.

One area of STEM that’s sure to capture the imagination is robotics. After all, robots are something children experience from early on, with shows like StoryBots and films like Wall-E to inspire little ones and bigger kids alike.

So, what if you give your teens the chance to build robots of their own? Whether you’re a parent looking for ideas or a teacher working on new lesson plans for your class, read on to get some inspired project ideas.

Line follower

This is a great starting point for those who are new to robotics. Here, the children build a robot that can detect a black line and, using IR sensors, it can then follow the line.

To build this, an Arduino platform is coded with the Scratch programming drag and drop tool. Once the basics are in place, this robot can then be repurposed for more complex robotics later on.

Micro:bit hovercraft

The BBC micro:bit is a mini-computer that’s designed to make coding accessible for young people. There are lots of projects to try using this, but one of the most entertaining is probably the hovercraft.

Using a micro:bit kit, the software can be coded with javascript, python, or open source Microsoft make:code and programmed to power the flight controller and motors. Follow the steps with your teens to make this cool creation.

Edge detector

Stop the robot from falling off the table by building sensors that spot where the edges are. Like the line follower, this robot uses IR sensors to carry out the task. Here, the sensors work out where the edge is and send this information to the microcontroller.

Again, Scratch drag and drop programming makes the robot function. This is the next step after creating the line follower and is a brilliant opportunity to build on what the children have learned so far.

Firefighting robot

This is a brilliant opportunity to create a robot that can make a difference. The idea here is to build a robot that can detect fire and move where the smoke is coming from. Once it reaches the fire, it will blow it out.
Digital IR sensors are used to detect the fire then DC motors move the robot in the right direction. A DC-powered fan will then blow the fire. Again, Scratch drag and drop is the programming used here.

Are you feeling inspired? Which of these robotics projects will you attempt with your teens?


About the author

Saman Iqbal

Saman is a law student. She enjoys writing about tech, politics and the world in general. She's an avid reader and writes fictional prose in her free time.

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