Tech Ninjas

Who better to design and wire Wiggle Bots than a group of wiggly Tech Ninjas?

The Works Museum visited Tech Ninjas today to teach students about circuits. Before receiving their assignments, students explored tiny motors and speculated about what they would be making. “I know that motors are used for lots of machines that need to move,” said Tyler. “We’re probably going to use them for a moving machine that’s small.”

Next, students explored electromagnetism by spinning copper wire using magnets. Sarah and Tyler discovered that using one magnet was not enough to spin their looped wire. “Oh, there’s not enough magnetic pulse in it,” Tyler realized. 

“It just needs a push. It’s really dizzy!” Sarah said. That “push” came when they added a second magnet. “The copper is attracted by the magnet and every single side is trying to grab the metal and connect to it,” Tyler explained. “The farther the magnet is away, the slower it goes.”

Soon it was time to put all their new knowledge together in the form of Wiggle Bots, or, as some of the kids preferred, battle bots. At J.J.’s table, the students were excited to use circuitry to create their battle bots. “We need to make an open circuit,” J.J. explained. “When the circuit isn’t complete – if the loop doesn’t connect all the way – it doesn’t work.”

Sebastian held up the end of his purple wire with exposed filaments pointing every which way. “Mine has a bad hair day,” he laughed. He twisted the raw wires to smooth the wild “hairs” in order to loop them through the motor. 

Ryan problem solved how to create more power for his bot. “I gave mine double the power,” he said. “The way to win the battle bot battle is to use two batteries.”

Once circuits were tested, the students added their motor, battery pack, and “switches” (in the form of metal paper clips) to a clear plastic cup – the housing for their wiggle bots. Then it was time to decorate.

“My idea for decorating is to make it sus by just putting red tape and drawing an “Among Us” face on it,” said Lewis. “I have a tiny knife for the imposter, the sus.”

Sarah translated for me. “Sus is short for suspicious,” she said, and (as every parent must know by now) is used to describe a character in the online game Among Us.

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