Scribble Bots

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Create a wiggling, scribbling machine out of recycled materials.



Electricity—a form of energy resulting from the existence of charged particles (such as electrons or protons), either statically as an accumulation of charge or dynamically as a current.

Circuit—a closed path through which an electric current flows or may flow.

Battery—a container consisting of one or more cells, in which chemical energy is converted into electricity and used as a source of power.

Energy—the measure of the ability of a body or system to do work or produce a change.

Vibration— an oscillation of the parts of a fluid or an elastic solid whose equilibrium has been disturbed, or of an electromagnetic wave.



  • Various recycled materials for the body of the bot (strawberry baskets, yoghurt cups, other small containers)
  • Duct or masking tape
  • Rubber bands
  • Colored markers
  • 1.3-3.0 DC motors (RadioShack,, found in Dollar Store electric toothbrushes)
  • Something to offset the movement of the bot (glue gun stick pieces, small erasers)
  • Large piece of paper for scribbling (butcher paper taped to tables)



  1. Make sure that your area for testing the scribble bots is prepped and ready to go.
  2. Provide materials in bins or lay them around a large table so that they’re easily accessible to students.
  3. In order to encourage creative design, offer students limited instructions on building their scribble bot, as there are many ways to build one. Invite students to build a machine that scribbles and moves with the materials provided and facilitate their experience by reflect.
  4. Have students make observations about the moment and patterns their scribble bot is making. If there is enough time, encourage them to explore alternate ways in designing their bot.
  5. Have students share their experiences with the class: what worked, what didn’t worked, patterns that were observed, and any changes observed if the scribble bot was altered.



  • Experiment with different mediums; try scribbling with paintbrushes, pastels, or even chalk!
  • Try collecting things from nature such as leaves, sticks, and bark. Attach to your bot and see what sort of patterns can be created in the sand or dirt.


Printable version, here.