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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2009

Homemade robots engineer family fun at Glendale-Feilbach Elementary

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Lucy Arrigo, 7, left, listens as Jala Ehrenfried, 7, explains how she made her robot. All first graders at Glendale-Feilbach Elementary and their parents were challenged to build a robot. Lucy Arrigo, 7, left, listens as Jala Ehrenfried, 7, explains how she made her robot. All first graders at Glendale-Feilbach Elementary and their parents were challenged to build a robot.
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Roboda looks a little different than some of the other robots living at Glendale-Feilbach Elementary School.

Made mostly of metal wiring, you can see right through her to view tubes of "intestines" and wires in her "brain."

She is the creation of Lucy Arrigo, 7, and her parents for a unique homework project from Lucy's first-grade teacher Barb Gail.

"I did stay up most of the night," Lucy said about bringing Roboda to life.

She proudly showed off Roboda's arms made from a stroller - so that the clamps looked like hands and the wheels the robot has for feet.

Lucy even got to help with the tools her dad used to cut the wood and screw some of it together.

"I think it turned out really, really cool," she said.

All three first-grade classes at Glendale-Feilbach sent their students home with the assignment to create three-dimensional robots as part of a language arts lesson that included the story My Robot by Eve Bunting. The other teachers are Debra Welch and Shelby Vannette.

All the families were told was to make it 3-D, at least 1 foot but no bigger than 5 feet, and use whatever they had around the house.

"We thought it would be fun to have the children do a project with their parents," Mrs. Gail said. "We're trying to get their creative juices flowing."

And it came pouring in.

"You can see some parents went over the top," Mrs. Gail said as she looked at the display of 45 robots - one for every first grader, showing 100 percent participation.

In the corner there was a hulking gold robot made from a spray- painted guitar box, aluminium dryer vent hose for arms, and eyes that light up when touched.

There was one with Mr. Potato Head facial features, a princess robot wrapped in pink paper wearing clothes, and a shadow- box robot with designs dangling inside.

There were pom-poms for hair, Slinky toys for arms, and pop bottles for eyes.

Brynne Limes, 7, used aluminum cans for the arms and legs of her robot Lu-Lu, which had a body of spray-painted boxes.

She dressed her up in play clothes, gave her a pair of candy lips from Valentine's Day, and stuck curly wires in Styrofoam for hair.

"I might want to keep it because I like it, but I might eat the choco-late lips," Brynne said.

There were many, as one can imagine, made of shoe boxes wrapped in aluminum foil.

Jala Ehrenfried, 7, decided against the traditional box head and body style after seeing a robotic dog while out with her mom. She got to thinking about animals and decided on a mouse.

H2O, named for its blue eyes, was the product of a baking pan enclosing a toy car belonging to Jala's little brother.

"It was a car he didn't really want because my dad had to screw holes in the car," she said.

Jala said she had a lot of fun putting on safety goggles to work with her dad and adding some personality, which included a tail for the mouse and a piece of cheese to go with it that had some "bling" gemstones, to the robot with her mom.

The children not only made their new 3-D friends, but also wrote about what made their robots special.

They've been getting many compliments on their creations this week as the robots are on display in the school hallway, Mrs. Gail said.

"It's just kind of fun to see the different robots that came in," she said.

"The next one was just as cute as the first one."

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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