Plants and Robots is an exciting new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) project for primary schools, combining robotics and digital art activities. Students taking part in the project used Raspberry Pi computers to build plant watering robots and explored the social impact of new technology on food production through creative writing and discussion. Along the way students developed their programming, biology and creative skills, examining food production from a range of creative perspectives.
The video above shows students at St Ann’s Primary demonstrating their plant sensing & watering robot. In this demo, a student dips the moisture sensor in and out of some very wet soil. When the sensor senses the conductivity of the moist soil, the robot arm does nothing. When the student removes the sensor from the moist soil, the system no longer senses this conductivity and triggers the robot arm to water the plant below. By changing the tolerance of the systems response to different levels of conductivity and resistance, students were able to program the robot arm to water plants only when their soil was dry.
The project is a collaboration between FACT, Curious Minds, artist Neil Winterburn and three primary schools in St.Helens, St Ann’s Primary School in Rainhill, St Mary’s & Thomas Primary and Lansbury Bridge School & Sports College.
To read more about the project click here.
See below for a set of how to guides.
Plants and Robots is part of the Curious Minds SLICE initiative, which aims to support arts organisations to develop their offer to schools.