Dash the Robot Life Cycle STEM Challenge

The last day of school is upon us which means that we are finishing up our final Science unit. In this unit we study different life cycles. One particular life cycle that we focus on is the butterfly life cycle. We watch larva transform into a pupa then a butterfly in our own classroom. Every year this is one of my favorite things to teach. The students are engaged and excited.

A few weeks ago it was time to release our butterflies. The students were sad but understood that to continue the life cycle we had to let them go. I wanted a way to culminate this unit that allowed the students to express what they learned in a creative way. Thus a Dash STEM project was born…

If you are not familiar with Dash it is a robot that can be coded and is VERY kid friendly. More info here. This quarter we also learned about recycling and natural resources. I decided to blend these together and create a STEM project to culminate these standards.

Students had to build the different stages of the butterfly life cycle using recycled materials. These recycled materials included:

    • Toilet paper rolls
    • Cereal boxes
    • Tissue Paper
    • Egg cartons
    • Noodles
    • Yarn
    • Scissors
    • Markers
    • Tape
    • Bottle caps

Parents generously donated all the recycled things we needed :). Students could choose what materials they wanted to use for each stage. The only stipulation was that they needed a blueprint for each stage before they could begin building.

After students built each stage they then had to create a script that Dash would “say” as he traveled to each stage of the life cycle. I reminded students that you can only record for 30 seconds so they should keep their information “short and sweet”. Once the students created their script they could start programming! They had SO much fun with this. Check out some samples below!

Example One

Example Two

You can also find the link to the directions and planning page here.


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