Diving into STEM and Fun with Marty!

Dr. Rachelle Dené Poth
6 min readJun 6, 2023

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How can we create opportunities for students to dive into coding and STEM? With Marty the Robot, students will take the lead! Marty the Robot from Robotical is a versatile and engaging tool that can be used to enhance learning in any classroom! Marty is a humanoid robot that can dance, walk, and even wiggle his eyebrows!

What I love about Marty is that it is so easy to get started, even for beginners. Marty has a variety of sensors, including distance sensors, light sensors, and touch sensors, which can be programmed using Scratch or Python, two popular programming languages for beginners. With these options, children as young as seven years old can start learning to program and control the robot with ease. With the screen-free option, remote controller, and even MartyBlocks Jr (based on Scratch Jr), Marty can be used with children as young as four! The screen-free option is perfect for learning about the steps in the process and watching how Marty responds. Using the infrared sensors and color sensors on his feet, he can figure out which direction to move in and even dance and play music when he is placed on the color cards.

And Marty’s keeps on getting better! What’s new in 2023?

The Robotical team has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring you Marty’s new drag-and-drop sound blocks. This latest addition to the MartyBlocks coding environment (based on Scratch) allows students to expand their creativity, get even more technical, and will add extra personality to every robot.

Marty is customizable. The robot can be assembled and disassembled, allowing users to modify and upgrade its parts to suit their needs. Students can have fun decorating Marty and create a lot of fun ways for Marty to move around and interact! This means that as users’ programming skills and knowledge of robotics and engineering concepts improve, they can modify the robot to make it more complex and challenging.

Marty the Robot is now delivered with pre-installed LED eyes. Programmable in every color under the rainbow, these lights are the perfect addition to the robots and will add a pop of color and sparkle to every lesson. Not to mention, this new addition will also allow teachers to take advantage of Robotical’s disco eye lessons, expanding students’ knowledge of LEDs and lights, testing students to program different colors as reactions, and allowing students to explore different patterns and timing orders.

Marty is suitable for a wide range of age groups, from primary school children to adults. Children can use the robot to learn basic programming concepts, while older students and adults can use the robot to build more complex projects and explore advanced robotics and engineering concepts.

Building essential skills

There are many ways to use Marty to build STEM skills and SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) competencies. For SEL, students can use Marty to practice teamwork and collaboration skills. They can work in groups to build projects and share ideas for improving the robot’s performance. Additionally, students can use the robot to develop problem-solving skills, as they will need to debug code and troubleshoot any issues that arise during the robot’s operation. Students can use the robot to develop perseverance and resilience, as they work to overcome challenges and setbacks during the project-building process.

For STEM skills, students can use the robot to learn programming concepts, including loops, conditionals, and variables. They can also explore robotics concepts such as sensor technology, motor control, and movement algorithms. Additionally, students can use the robot to build projects, such as obstacle courses or mazes, which require them to think creatively and apply their knowledge of programming and robotics.

Here are some reminders for when using Marty the Robot in class:

Have fun! Marty is a fun and engaging robot! Marty can dance, walk, talk, and more.

Teach others. Marty can be used to teach others about coding, robotics, and STEM.

Make music. Marty can be used to make music. Marty has a built-in speaker and can play a variety of sounds.

Be creative. Design fun programs to get Marty up and moving, dancing and talking!

Ideas for Marty!

Build an obstacle course: Challenge students to build an obstacle course using cardboard boxes, ramps, and other materials. Then, program Marty to navigate through the course. Students will need to use their engineering and coding skills to ensure that Marty can safely navigate through the obstacles.

Build a robot team: In groups, students can build multiple Marty robots and program them to work together. They can experiment with different algorithms to control the movement and behavior of the robots. This activity develops teamwork, programming, and engineering skills.

Explore sensor technology: Marty the Robot comes with a variety of sensors, including distance sensors, light sensors, and touch sensors. Students can use these sensors to create programs that respond to changes in the robot’s environment. For example, they can program Marty to move away from objects or to stop when it detects a certain color. This activity encourages problem-solving and programming skills.

Have a dance party: Encourage students to create a fun and lively dance routine for Marty. Students can program the robot to dance along to their favorite songs. This activity encourages creativity, problem-solving, and programming skills.

Create a science experiment: Marty the Robot can be used to conduct a variety of science experiments, such as measuring the speed of sound or testing the effects of gravity. Students can program the robot to collect data and perform calculations, helping them to develop their scientific inquiry and data analysis skills.

Marty goes above and beyond to help deliver STEAM subjects (and more) in an accessible, interactive, and engaging way. Get started today! In the Knowledge Base, teachers can find support articles and lots of other information to help them get started. You can sign up for a free trial! Also check out my podcast episode with Hal Speed, Head of North America Robotical.

About the author

Rachelle Dené is a Spanish and STEAM: What’s Next in Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an attorney with a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and serves as the past president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network. She was recently named one of 30 K-12 IT Influencers to follow in 2021.

She is the author of seven books including ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking, Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU, The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead, Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World, True Story: Lessons That One Kid Taught Us, Your World Language Classroom: Strategies for In-Person and Digital Instruction and her newest book Things I WIsh [….] Knew is now available.

Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and on Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU available at https://anchor.fm/rdene915.

Looking for PD for your school? I provide in-person and virtual training on the following topics. If you want to learn more about and explore AI and ChatGPT, contact me to schedule! Rdene915@gmail.com

**Interested in writing a guest blog or submitting a sponsored post for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

Originally published at http://rdene915.com on June 6, 2023.

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Dr. Rachelle Dené Poth

I am a Spanish and STEAM Emerging Tech Teacher, Attorney, Author and Blogger, Learning Enthusiast and EdTech Consultant