How to Design a Robot for Teens

3 min to read
A middle school girl is starting to build a robot

If you’re looking for a fun STEM activity to add to your online student’s school day, check out this step-by-step video developed by a Connections Academy teacher on how to build a robot for teens using a free web app. 

In this STEM lesson, your student uses design and engineering principles to design a robot online. This project is also a great opportunity for students to use their imagination, get creative, and flex their problem-solving skills. 

In Tinkercad, students can build from the bottom up, just like they could with physical blocks. Tinkercad features building blocks of various shapes, which can then be manipulated to further customize your creation.

The robot can take on any form you’d like! Don’t be afraid to get creative with this robot project idea—the sky is the limit.

Watch the full lesson taught by one of our Connections Academy teachers on how to design your own robot and get tips on taking your designs to a 3D printer to help the robot come to life. This video will give you all the tools you need to design a robot online, which you can then leverage for all your robot project ideas. 

Best Practices for Teens to Design a Robot Online

If it’s your first time learning how to make a robot online using Tinkercad, there are a few best practices you should follow that will help your project succeed.

  1. Brainstorm your robot project ideas before loading up Tinkercad. It can help to sketch out the robot you’re envisioning, then break it down into individual building blocks.

  2. Keep your objects properly aligned. When adding new objects, you will have to place them on the building plan. Move items underneath where you’d like them to be, then use the black cone to move them straight up. 

  3. Ensure your building blocks are touching and there are no gaps between them. This is especially important if you plan to send your robot project to a 3D printer.

  4. Design smaller elements much larger than you want them to be first. Once you’re happy with what you’ve created, you can scale and move them.

  5. Use the wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out often to see your robot from different angles. You may notice certain elements are lined up exactly as you thought they were.

  6. Print your robot project! Even if you don’t have your own 3D printer, many local libraries have 3D printers you can use. 

Robot Project Ideas

If your learner has grown comfortable with designing a 3D robot in Tinkercad, encourage them to take on the following advanced robotics ideas. These project prompts will allow your learner to continue refining their skills in Tinkercad, while further improving their design, engineering, and problem-solving skills.

  • Design a robot disguised as your favorite animal
  • Create a robot that would solve a problem you experience in your daily life
  • Design a robot that includes at least two simple machines
  • Build a robot modeled after a famous robot from a TV show or movie

STEM Activities for Teens

Whether you have a middle schooler or a high schooler, making STEM projects fun and educational for teens can sometimes be a challenge. Supplement your homeschool STEM projects with other fun STEM activities from our Resource Hub.

Who says that STEM fun must stop after you’ve built a robot? If your teen is enrolled in virtual school or a traditional brick-and-mortar school, mix up their daily schedule with other STEM activities like growing crystals with common ingredients or learning how to build a Rube Goldberg machine.


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