Our young Johnson School artists in 5th & 6th grade recently completed a unit in Art class designed to introduce the concept of “Technology in Art”. It’s a wonderful example of STEAM based learning happening here in Nahant.
The young artists were given a kit of parts, provided by the Nahant Education Foundation, filled with items required to build a tiny robot, called a Brushbot. Kathleen Shusdock, a Nahant resident and biology major at Northeastern University, led the students in an introductory robotics lesson on how to build them. These Brushbots are made by attaching a tiny battery and a vibrating motor to the head of a toothbrush. When the electrical circuit is made, these mini robots come to life! As the bristles vibrate on a table the Brushbots appear to dance in wild and random directions. When the brush is dipped in paint they can also create a painting! After admiring the art created by their robots, students debated the question “Can a painting be considered a work of art if it is created by a non-human?”
Finally, the artists named their robots, and gave them enhancements, like feathers, googley eyes, and beads, to turn them into them unique mini-sculptures. The only requirement to this last creative challenge was that the robots should still be able to move and not topple over. What creative fun they had!