This is a classic and staple SparkTruck workshop. It doesn't actually require any high-tech tools on the truck, and all the materials you need can fit into a small bin! This makes the Vibrobots workshop great to run for your students even if you don't have any specialized equipment around.
This experience is a great blend of art and science, since it allows your students both to learn about motors and batteries, and also express themselves creatively through the invention of a unique creature.
This workshop can take as little as 45 minutes, or can stretch to almost 1hr 30 min, depending on how quickly you choose to move through the steps and how much warmup/debrief you'd like to include. We've found this workshop easy to squeeze between the bells in a regular school day schedule.
Total time required: 1 hour
Number of facilitators: 1 per 10 students
Number of students: 40 maximum
Age of students: ~10 years old, +/- 4 (but grownups love it, too!)
Here's what you need to have handy:
Before the workshop starts, you want to strip the wires of the motors so about 1/2" of naked wire is exposed.
To set up, we like to use our three 8' Lifetime tables, and set them up in a large U (no chairs), designating one table or a part of a table as the "testing arena." Distribute Sharpies and paper on the tables, so they're ready when the students start. Have the rest of the materials handy nearby.