Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Introducing the Incredible RBT-2000

Kelly Allen


Students work cooperatively to construct a miniature robot using recyclable materials They individually write a descriptive explanation from the robot's point of view explaining how it will aid in protecting the environment.


The student uses resources and references such as dictionary, thesaurus, and context to build word meanings.

The student establishes a purpose for writing (including but not limited to explaining, informing, telling a story, making a request).

The student uses an effective organizational pattern and substantial support to achieve a sense of completeness or wholeness (for example, considering audience, choosing effective words, sequencing events; using specific details to clarify meaning).

The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes (for example, journals to reflect upon ideas, reports to describe scientific observations).

The student uses appropriate words to shape reactions, perceptions, and beliefs (for example, synonyms, antonyms, figurative language).


-Thesaurus for each student or pair of students
-Recyclable materials brought from home
-Hot glue guns or strong craft glue
-Gold or silver spray paint (optional)
--Just a Dream- by Chris VanAlsburg


1. Gather resource materials such as books, encyclopedias, almanacs, and videos to gather information about environmental issues.
2. Have students bring in recylcable materials from home.
3. Gather as many thesauruses as possible, ideally one for each student.
4. Obtain spray paint for robots (optional), hot glue gun or strong craft glue.
5. Gather statistics, articles, or books about protecting the environment. (optional)
6. Paper and pencil


1. (Day 1) Begin the activity by arousing the students' interest by reading from a list of statistics concerning environmental problems like the amount of trash thrown away, the number of animals killed due to pollution, etc.... Or, ask the students questions such as, -Have you ever wondered where all the trash goes?- -How are fish affected that live in an area where an oil spill has occurred?- -How are humans, plants, and animals affected by pollution in the air?- Then, read a story or article to the students about protecting our environment. -Just A Dream- by Chris VanAlsburg is a wonderful example. Discuss with the students some of the problems we face in keeping our environment clean. List these problems on the board or on chart paper. (For example, too much trash and not enough landfills, smog and other pollutants filling the air from factories and automobiles, and water pollution caused from oil spills, etc.) Then, list possible solutions for preventing these environmental hazards. For example, we could limit the amount of trash by recycling and re-using plastic and glass items. We could also refuse to buy products that are not recyclable.

2. Pair up the students and instruct them that the first part of their assignment is to invent a robot using recyclable materials that will be able to help clean the environment in some way. Before they begin constructing their robot, they need to draw a sketch of what they want their robot to look like, keeping in mind the major function of their invention. Students then build the robots and spray paint if possible.

3. (Day 2/ Planning to write) After the robots are completed, instruct the students that the next part of their project will involve writing about their robots. Before writing, the students create a name for their robot and make a list of descriptions that they will use in their essay. These descriptions should include the physical characteristics (what it looks like) and a description (list) of the steps involved that allow the robot to do its job. Give a few examples on the board of a description that might fit one of the robots. Make a word bank with the students of words that they can use in their descriptions. These words should include geometric shapes of the recyclable materials used in building their robots. Examples are: rectangle, cylinder, square, cone, octagon, hexagon, etc. Review with the students how to use the thesaurus. The students can then use their thesauruses to add words to the bank, as well as to their own writing.

4. Finally, discuss the meaning of point of view. Instruct the students that they are to write their essay from the robot's point of view. Give an example of what this might sound like. (example: -Hi, my name is RX200 and I have a very special job.-)

5. Students then complete the essay about their robot from the robot's point of view. You may want to have the students edit and revise.

6. (Day 3) Finally, place all of the robots side by side and have each student read their essay to the class. Allow classmates to guess which robot matches the description read. Conclude by having the students reflect on their writing, and emphasize how easy it was for their classmates to match the robots with the essays that were more descriptive.


Prior to the students writing their papers, present the criteria for assessing the assignment. A rubric is included in the attached file. Encourage self/peer assessment during the writing process.
Student papers should reflect an understanding of point of view as well as the use of descriptive words or phrases used in their writing. The content of their paper should communicate a basic awareness of environmental protection (focus and purpose). Score the papers according to the established criteria contained in the rubric.


Students can use word processing to produce a final draft. Research skills can easily be incorporated into this lesson. Students could also prepare persuasive speeches, encouraging classmates (pretending to be scientists) to purchase their robot in order to save the environment. Persuasive speeches could also be created in order to convince people to clean up their environment.

Web Links

Web supplement for Introducing the Incredible RBT-2000
Discovery Channel School

Attached Files

Grading rubric     File Extension: pdf

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