BOTS 1: Build Simple Robots

Do you love making and inventing things? Would you like to build working robotic prototypes using everyday stuff? Want to learn about electrical circuits, motors, sensors, and coding with robotic prototypes you design yourself?

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Join me for a series of five Build BOTS workshops, based on my book BOTS! from Nomad Press. It's a complete introduction to the way robots work— no expensive kits needed!

Each week we'll explore a different robotics system and make a short hands-on project. Written materials and links to real robotics research are provided to help you dive deeper into each topic if you choose. They include:

  • What robots are and what they can do
  • Different ways to power robots
  • How robots get around, and how they pick up and move stuff
  • How sensors help robots decide what to do
  • How to create real and virtual robots and control them with free, online software like MIT’s Scratch and Microsoft MakeCode.

To make the projects in this course, all you need are some household supplies (such as index cards, pencils, and scissors), and some beginner-friendly electronic components. The components can be found through online electronics retailers like Adafruit, on Amazon, or even salvaged from dollar store devices — you’ll find out how in the first class!

Between classes, you have the option to keep improving and adding to your projects with suggested extra activities. You'll also get time at the beginning of class to share anything new you’ve worked on!

Here's a sneak peek at some of the projects we'll be looking at and making:

BOTS! book trailer from Kathy Ceceri on Vimeo.

Age Range



Classes take place on Thursdays at 4pm Eastern / 3pm Central / 2pm Mountain / 1pm Pacific from October 13 - November 10, 2022

Each class lasts about one hour.

Supply List

All you need for Week 1 is an index card, pen, ruler, and scissors. A week-by-week list of all the supplies needed, including crafts material, with links, is available here. 

  • Estimated cost of electronics needed is about $50 per person (less if you have multiple students who can share materials that come in bulk).
  •  I highly recommend getting the Adafruit electronics parts savings bundle if it is available. It has all the electronics you need for class, and comes with a copy of my book BOTS! If it's out of stock, you can enter your email to be notified when it is back -- sometimes within a day.
  •  You can also buy the parts individually from my Adafruit shopping list or on Amazon.

NOTE:  Contact me if you are having trouble finding what you need! Electronics supply chains have been affected by world events this year. I have a limited number of kits for sale. I will also go over supplies needed the first week and suggest ways to salvage what you need from dollar store devices.

The programmable Adafruit Circuit Playground Express microcontroller board is also used in the follow-up class, More BOTS!


We will be using free, online Microsoft MakeCode software. It works best using the Chrome browser.

To download the code to the programmable board, you will also need a laptop or desktop computer (not a tablet) that can be connected to the board with a standard USB data cable (see the supply list for details).

Many families find it useful to watch the class on a second device while working with MakeCode on their computer. However, it is possible to Zoom and code on the same computer at the same time!


A camera and microphone are required. Parents will need a Zoom account (free).

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