Build a wiggle robot

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Robot Blog 5

Young people will create a circuit to make their own robot that wobbles around on its legs.

This activity contributes to the following badges:

Scout Electronics Activity Badge

Explorer Science and Technology Activity Badge

Time: 60 minutes

Equipment (per robot):

  • Paper cup
  • Electrical tape
  • Felt pens x 3
  • AAA batteries x 2
  • Battery pack/holder (for 2 AAA batteries)
  • 1.5-3V DC motor (available on Amazon or from electrical or hobbyist shops)
  • Clothes peg
  • Wooden lolly stick
  • Scissors


1) Ask the young people to use the felt pens to draw robot faces on the cups. Then, use the tape to stick the pens inside the cup, nibs facing away from the cup, spaced evenly so that it can stand on them when the cup is turned upside down.


Robot Blog 1


2) Next, they should attach the battery pack to the DC motor by wrapping the wire from the battery pack around the leads on the motor.


Robot Blog 2


3) With the cup upside down, ask them to tape the battery pack to the bottom of it, following the shape of the holder with the tape, so that you can still put the batteries inside, on top of the tape.


Robot Blog 3


4) Show them how to tape the motor onto the bottom of the cup, next to the battery pack, then insert the batteries and turn on the motor to demonstrate that the robot doesn’t move around yet.


Robot Blog 4


5) With it turned off again, they need to tape the lolly stick onto the clothes peg and then clip the clothes peg onto the motor. This makes it off balance, which is what makes it wobble. They might need to reinforce the peg with tape if the vibration makes it fall off.

6) Lastly, ask them to turn on the robots and place them on a piece of paper to watch them wiggle and spin while they make patterns with their felt pen legs. Make sure the surface the paper is on is protected in case the robots wiggle off. You could put the paper and robots in trays, so they can’t wiggle away. The picture at the top should resemble your robot, if everything's gone to plan.

Take it further

If you have the equipment, the circuit can be soldered instead of the young people wrapping the wires of the battery pack around the motor leads.

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