Motors, Circuits & Art

Call to Book

704.372.6261 x300

Art is more than just a paintbrush and a canvas. We'll show your students how art can be made using batteries, motors, circuits and their very own DrawBot. Our Record Player Spirograph--a big hit at Maker Faires in the region—also will draw students' attention to the close connection between mathematics and art. This program really puts the A in STEAM!

Major Concepts to Be Explored:

  • Electronic components and circuits
  • Electrical conductors and insulators
  • Engineering design principles
  • Free-choice artistic expression

Essential Standards:

3.V.2, 3.V.3, 4.V.2, 4.V.3, 4.P.2.1, 4.P.3.1, 5.V.2; 5.V.3; 5.P.1.1, 6.V.2, 6.V.3, 6.P.3.3, 7.V.2, 7.V.3, 7.P.2.3, 7.P.2.4, 8.V.2, 8.V.3, PSc.3.3

Goals of the Class:

  • Participants will design, build and test an electrically-powered mechanical drawing device (DrawBot).
  • Participants will make at least one significant change or adjustment to their DrawBot to improve its performance or artistic outcome.
  • Participants will predict and test the electrical insulating and conducting abilities of various materials and choose materials most suitable for their DrawBot.
  • Participants will test the properties and usefulness of various electrical components including batteries, motors, LEDs, wire and more.
  • Participants will observe the effects of friction and mechanical leverage on various drawing devices such as the Record Player Spirograph and make changes to produce a more desirable artistic outcome.

Class Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  • Develop a DrawBot prototype and then improve upon that initial version using engineering design principles.
  • Investigate how changes to their DrawBot design will affect the overall performance of their DrawBot with respect to their own chosen artistic goals.
  • Test various electrical components for use on their DrawBots and select those that best achieve their own chosen artistic goals.
  • Investigate how changes to their Record Player Spirograph design will affect the overall performance of their Record Player Spirograph with respect to their own chosen artistic goals.

Methods and Activities:

  • A Discovery Place Science Educator will explain and demonstrate the behaviors of electrical insulators and conductors and an assortment of additional electronic components.
  • A Discovery Place Science Educator will explain and demonstrate the essentials of an electronic circuit.
  • Participants will design and test their own electronic circuits.
  • Participants will design and build DrawBots based on their electronic circuits.
  • Participants will observer the behavior of their DrawBots and compare it to their chosen artistic goals.
  • Participants will make at least one significant change to their first DrawBot model or design showing improvement based upon their testing.
  • Participants will observer the behavior of a Record Player Spirograph and will make at least one change to the Record Player Spirograph showing the difference of mechanical position or friction on their resulting design.

Key Vocabulary:

friction, battery, circuit, wire, LED, electron, atom, proton, neutron, switch, composition

Call to Book

704.372.6261 x300
  • Grades 3 - 8
  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • $14 PER STUDENT, PLUS ADDITIONAL MATERIAL COST OF $3 PER PARTICIPANT (INCLUDES MUSEUM ADMISSION)
  • Minimum 15 students