Tilt Sensor

Tilt Sensor

Make a simple tilt sensor with LED lights that indicate which way it's leaning.
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Magnetic Field Viewer

Magnetic Field Viewer

From Electricity

You can see magnetic fields in action with this easy-to-make viewer.

Build a Craft Stick Catapult

Build a Craft Stick Catapult

From Engines!

Ancient armies used catapults in battle. But the catapult has been used as recently as World War I. In that war, soldiers used catapults to toss hand grenades at the enemy. Today, catapults are used to launch planes off the decks of huge ships called aircraft carriers. Because the runway is short on an aircraft carrier, the catapult helps get the plane into the air quickly. Try making your own!

The STEM in Your Closet

The STEM in Your Closet

From The Science of Fashion

Have you ever really thought about what kind of science, engineering, and technology actually go into making your clothes? Now is your chance! The zipper on your jacket was at one time an engineering miracle. The shirt that has built-in protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays is a scientific innovation that helps to keep you healthy. There is a world of science and engineering in your closet. Just open the door.

Build the Eiffel Tower

Build the Eiffel Tower

From The Science and Technology of Marie Curie

Built in 1889 for the World Exposition, the Eiffel Tower honored the French Revolution. It also showcased national engineering and design expertise to an audience of global visitors. Originally intended as a temporary monument, it remains one of the world’s most visited landmarks. The structure of the tower itself is actually quite simple! To understand how its rivets and beams join, build a model of your own.



School Library Journal
Gr 4-6–This title covers the many robots dreamed up by inventors and encourages readers to try out their own accessible projects. Ceceri urges readers to collect materials from yard sales and junk drawers and to tinker fearlessly (though safety guidelines are offered). Projects include basic pressure and tilt sensors, a solar-powered wobble bot made from garden lights, and gelatin-based skin for “soft robots.” Unlike other makerspace activity guides, this book takes an age-appropriate but surprisingly in-depth look at the social and cultural dimensions of robotics. Discussion topics include robots in history, current technological advances in cybernetics, and ethical issues raised by artificial intelligence. Diagrams, photos, and full-color comic strips add appeal for reluctant readers. Activity directions are fairly straightforward but complex enough that readers will likely require adult guidance. VERDICT This book would make a fantastic addition to an elementary or middle school library, makerspace, or STEM-integrated classroom. A delightfully comprehensive dive into the world of robots for a tween audience.

Praise for a previous edition of this book

Featured title School Library Journal "Focus on Robo Reads"
“Robot types and features from the past, present, and near future are introduced in this wide-ranging overview. Twenty hands-on activities relate directly to the concepts introduced in the narrative. A ‘WobbleBot' project for example, demonstrates robot movements in a simple, doable form. Cartoon illustrations support the narrative and the clear instructions.”

Publisher's Weekly
“Ceceri's cartoon-illustrated activity book, an addition to the Build It Yourself series, introduces readers to robotics, with information on its history, different robot technologies, and the evolution of the field . . . Light in tone but dense with information, this guide should appeal to those who already have a strong interest in the topic and are ready for a hands-on challenge.”

Praise for Video Games by Kathy Ceceri

This appealing offering should prove to be a popular addition to STEAM collections.”

Cathe Post, Senior Editor, GeekMom.com
“This is an enjoyable journey through the history of video games. It would be great for kids and even grandparents who want to know more about what their kids (and grandkids) are playing!”

Detailed Book Description

Robots are everywhere! They vacuum our houses, work in our factories, help us learn at school, and play with us at home. They sample rocks from other planets, survey disaster zones from the air, and bring back images from the bottom of the ocean.

In Bots! Robotics Engineering with Hands-On Makerspace Activities, kids ages 9 to 12 learn about the systems that help robots operate—the bodies that determine how they move, sensors that tell them what's going on around them, artificial intelligence that lets them figure out what to do next, and more! Explore the history of robots with fascinating facts and profiles of people working in this exciting STEM field. Bots! explores how art, psychology, and biology make robots easier to talk to and let them do things people can’t, such as slither or fly. And you'll get a peek at research that may someday bring us the robots of tomorrow.

Bots! is part of a set of two Build It Engineering books that explore the engineering technology behind our daily lives. The other titles in this series is Crazy Contraptions: Build Rube Goldberg Machines that Swoop, Spin, Stack, and Swivel with Hands-On Engineering Activities.

Try these hands-on engineering projects!

  • Concoct some frubbery robot skin
  • Construct a model solenoid
  • Design a hydraulic arm
  • Build a pen and paper Ozobot-style game
Available In:
Paperback, $17.95
Hardcover, $22.95
Includes: Table of Contents | Timeline | Charts | Glossary | Resources | Index | Metric Conversions Chart
Specs: 8x10 size | 4-color | 128 pages
Subject: Science
Content Focus: Engineering & Technology



The World of Robotics
Robot? Or Not?

Chapter 1
The Development of Robotics
Artbots Everywhere!

Chapter 2
Robotic Shapes and Jobs
Make Your Own Robot Skin
Create an Inflatable Robot

Chapter 3
Actuators: Making Robots Move
Solar WobbleBot
Passive Dynamic Mini-Walker

Chapter 4
How Robots Do Things
Robotic Hand
Hydraulic Robotic Arm

Chapter 5
Sensors: What is Going On?
Tilt Sensor
Pressure Sensor

Chapter 6
Controllers: How Robots Think
Write a Pencil-and-Paper Logo Program
Program a Virtual Musical Robot with Scratch
Build and Program a Recycled Robot with MakeCode

Chapter 7
AI and the Future of Robotics
Teach a Robot to Play NIMBLE

Metric Conversions
Essential Questions