Interactive Projects with Scratch and the Hummingbird

This classroom project was created by Karen Polstra of Christ Church Episcopal School. The goal of this project is to design a robot that interacts with the user via robotic components, computer graphics, and sound. Students will design a robot in Adobe Illustrator, build it using the Hummingbird kits and craft supplies, and program it using the Scratch programming language. The robot will use sensors to get input from the user. It will provide output to the user with movement, lights, sound, and graphics on a computer screen. This is an open-ended project; students can determine the subject of their project, as long as it meets the technical requirements.

This project is aligned with a number of the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards for Level 2: Computer Science and Community (grades 6-9). Specifically, this project aligns with standards in computational thinking (CT.1, CT.3, CT.4, CT.6, CT.12); collaboration (CL.1-CL.4); computing practice & programming (CPP.2-CPP.5, CPP.8); and computers & communications devices (CD.1-CD.5). This project will also meet the Next Generation Science Standards for engineering design (MS-ETS1-1 - MS-ETS1-3).
Classroom Time Required: 
12-20 hours
Lesson Procedures: 

Prior Knowledge

  • Students should already be familiar with programming.  I teach Scratch programming in 7th grade, and we do a “Scratch refresher” lesson in the 8th grade before beginning this project.
  • Students should know how to use Adobe Illustrator or whatever drawing tool you use.  We do a lesson where students practice creating geometric shape creations using a stroke but no fill or transparent fill so that the layers can be printed individually and used as templates for the robots.

The Lesson

  1. Go through “Hummingbird Intro Presentation” (attached).  RBG lesson is optional.  Be sure and stop and let students actually hook up a motor and sensor and try them.
  2. Place students in pairs to plan a robot.  Students should complete the “Hummingbird Creation Plan” handout (attached) and discuss with teacher.  
  3. After teacher initials the handout and assigns a kit number, students can begin creating their robot in Illustrator.
  4. Students print out their creations in layers and use them as templates to create their robot.
  5. Students build and program robots.
  6. Videotape final products.


  • Add sound. Keep in mind that they must be small files in Scratch.
  • Can add student names and directions onto the Scratch screen by first creating them in Keynote or Powerpoint and then exporting them as .jpg files and then importing them into Scratch.
  • Can pull in other sprites to use besides those created in Illustrator or already in Scratch. is a good place to get some.
Students are given the rubric included in the "Hummingbird Creation Plan."
Materials & Resources Used: 

Computers with

  • Adobe Illustrator (or other drawing tool)
  • Birdbrain software
  • Scratch 2 software
  • Available internet connection to access online resources like sounds
  • Chrome browser installed
  • Hummingbird kits. We worked in pairs of students which is ideal. See Classroom Setup video to see how I prepared the kits for the kids to use.
  • Extension cords for kits and hot glue guns 
  • Something to use as a frame for each robot. I use a wooden box that I can reuse over and over. See Classroom Setup video. Hint: If you use wooden boxes it is not easy to get the hot glue off when you take the robots apart, but dabbing the hot glue with rubbing alcohol helps a lot!
  • Craft supplies. See Classroom Setup video.
  • Room to store projects in progress.
  • Hummingbird Robot Intro Presentation (attached)
  • Hummingbird Creations Plan handout (attached)
  • Part of the Scratch 2.0 Programming page that has the Hummingbird block commands with the allowed values.
Objective and Learning Goals: 

By completing the activity students will

  • express their creativity by designing their very own robot.
  • practice engineering and electronics by building and wiring their robot.
  • practice problem solving and computational thinking by programming their robot.
Assessment (PDF or Doc):