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290 Castle Rd
Nahant, MA, 01908
United States

Nahant Education Foundation Blog

Learn more about the inaugural year of our marine science program with Northeastern University Marine Science Center in Nahant. 

STEAM Based Learning

Mary Jo Mitchell

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!