Thursday, June 25, 2015

Robotic Hand, 1st Attempt - June 22, 2015

Projects described in books or shown on Youtube seem absurdly easy, but I have yet come across a project that didn't need any tinkering before I could take it into a classroom. This one isn't too bad, but it still took me longer than I expected.

I came across this robotic hand project on Youtube as well as teachengineering.org (I think), but when I tried to build it, it took me almost two hours to work out the kinks. 

Sure, I did have to try several different versions and had to make adjustments as I went along, but I'm not sure if this is something I can take directly into a classroom of 2nd graders without more tinkering.

BUT... I think it'll be fun to try it with my kids.

Supplies Needed:
  • Cardboard paper or cardstock paper
  • Standard drinking straws (Dollar Store variety is fine)
  • Pearl drink straws or bigger diameter straws
  • Tape
  • Yarn or twine
Project Instructions (as of now):

  • Trace your hand on a cardboard or cardstock paper.
  • Cut the traced hand out (cutting it a little bigger than the actual tracing).



  • Mark your finger joints on the cutout.
  • Draw straight or curved line across it.


  • Fold the fingers at the lines.
  • Cut smaller straws to size (leave a little gap between the lines to facilitate in threading the yarn).
  • Tape straw pieces to the hand.
  • Thread yarn through the straw pieces. Each finger will have a length of yarn of its own.
  • Thread all five pieces of yarn through the bigger straw.

The writing on the hand has nothing to do with this project. I was recycling a stack of cardstock paper, and this one came out the best.
The threading part was difficult. If I had a big needle for the yarn, it would have made it easier, but I didn't. So, I struggled with it. If I do go forward with this one, I think I'll have to buy big plastic needles for this project.

The backside of the robotic hand.
I had grand plans for making a sleeve that will cover the arm, but I'm not sure I'll be able to build all of that in an hour let alone a 2nd grader. So, I might still try it, but I probably won't take it into the classroom.


If I were doing this in a classroom, I think I'll buy different colored yarns for each finger, so the students will know which finger they are trying to move. With the same colored yarns, it was difficult to figure out which end went with which finger.


I'll try to get my kids to make it soon, and post the results. In the meantime, why don't you give it a try? I spent two hours doing it, but it didn't feel like two hours. So, at the end of the day, if you enjoyed it, does it matter how long it takes? Unless, of course, you only have an hour of school science project time.

Have a great day and have fun!

P.S. - If you have any ideas about making this project more 2nd grader friendly, please let me know. Thanks!