The star of the latest robotics and programming lesson for kids is the Manipulator robot. This friendly robot is dexterous, perceptive and ready for action.

Manipulator Robot by RoboCamp

Before it is able to fulfill its task, the robot needs your help. Connect bricks to create mechanisms of the robot and combine code blocks into the script of the program.

Designed by RoboCamp, Manipulator is a robot that you can create from SPIKE™ Prime kit. This project allows kids to become robot constructors and programmers, to understand how these fascinating machines work.

Read how to accomplish a robotics lesson at school on-site, or completely online, with a SPIKE Prime kit and complex support from RoboCamp. All instructions are provided below.

Who is this lesson for?

LEGO Education recommends SPIKE Prime for kids above 10 years old, yet also notes that kids between 11 and 14 years old will probably achieve the best results.

Recommendations aside, if you are interested in the topic of robotics and programming for kids, feel free to watch & use this lesson!

What do you need?

To complete this project, you need one LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime (#45678) kit and a dedicated app for programming LEGO SPIKE Prime, available for computers and tablets.

You can download the app for your device for free from the official LEGO website.

What will you learn?

  • Programming. You will learn how to control the motors and how to coax the machine into waiting for a certain condition to be met. You will also understand (and solve) some of the problems that follow when you use a programming loop.

  • Science in the world. Together, we will discover fascinating origins of manipulators, as well as tasks that they help people accomplish on Earth and in space.

  • Mechanics. You will see how to build a turntable that relies on a gear train in an unusual way, or how to cleverly connect a gear train with a gear rack to make the entire robot move.

Lesson plan for SPIKE Prime

Complete lesson: Robot for SPIKE Prime

Manipulators are robots invented to replace people in repeatable or dangerous work. Some manipulators, thanks to their special construction and drive, can move large and heavy objects, which makes them invaluable in factories. Others execute highly precise tasks needed in medicine and science. There are even manipulators that disarm explosives or conduct research in areas inaccessible to humans.

Set against such advanced machines, how will a robot made out of colorful plastic bricks perform?

This RoboCamp robot uses all three motors of the kit, which is why the Manipulator can rotate around its own axis, tilt the gripper up and down, as well as open and close the claws. To detect the object it's supposed to move, the robot uses the ultrasound distance sensor.

This robotic model includes several interesting structural solutions, such as the turntable that uses a simple gear in a surprising way, or the gear train cleverly connected with a gear rack.

Programming lessons for kids by RoboCamp

The robot's program for will operate completely autonomously. The robot will detect the object on its own, then move it to another place. By programming this robot, you can learn how to control the motors, how to make a machine wait for fulfilling a predefined condition and how to deal with some of the problems that arise when you use a programming loop. You can do it!

The best way to complete this robotics lesson is to watch the videos below in order and follow the instructions that are presented and explained.

Start from part 1, where we explain how manipulators operate and what unusual tasks they perform for people.

In part 2, you will build the robot. The complete robot building instruction will guide you step by step.

Once the robot is built and ready, go to part 3 to understand how the mechanisms inside work and to prepare for coding, which is the following stage of the lesson.

For programming, you will use the LEGO SPIKE Prime app, which was designed after the well-known and much-liked Scratch.

About the authors
Ola Syrocka
Curriculum Developer
Ola holds an MSc of Physics and had been teaching robotics to children for over 8 years. She plays a key role in creating internal curricula, combining STEAM with lesson plans, and co-authoring RoboCamp lesson series. Whenever available, she trains teachers and helps them deliver robotics-based lessons.
Dominika Skrzypek
International Education Specialist
Dominika is a lover of languages, learning, and all things robot-related. She holds a BA in Education and an MA in English and French Translation. At RoboCamp HQ, Dominika’s role is to oversee content and prepare educators for their first robotics lesson. Away from the bustling office, she specializes in translating children’s books, films and educational materials.