Receipt Printing Robot

This document is based on a draft curriculum to be used for the 2016 Fall Tech Club (at the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh). During this club, students will work together to create a robot that can print quotes out using a receipt printer when a button is pressed, and blink its eyes.

Learning GoalsMaterials needed; Setup; Curricular plan.

Learning Goals

The learning goals of this set of exercises include

  • Understanding the things that make up a computer (memory, processing, and so on)
  • How a computer interfaces with the world (by sensing, or actuation) and relating this to things like a keyboard and monitor that are used frequently
    • How to build hardware that can support sensing (specifically using a single button)
    • How to build hardware that can support actuation (specifically, blinking an LED)
  • How a computer can build on sensors and actuators to communicate
    • Morse code
    • Print statements
  • Programming
    • Primitive types such as integers and booleans
    • Arrays that contain text
    • Picking a random number
    • Conditionals
    • Possibly loops
  • 3D modeling for 3D printing
    • Basic constructive geometry
    • Dimensionality in the real world
    • Printability


Materials include example purchasing links.

Per student (or pair of students):

For the whole group:

  • Cardboard box for head
  • Table or other stand for robot
  • Cardboard box for submitting quotes
    • Pad of paper for writing quotes on
    • Pen to attach to everything
  • Materials for decorating robot (think straw man? Or tissue paper & glue? Or paint?)
    • Mod podge
    • Newspaper
    • Acrylic Paint [jen can bring]
  • Projector (for demonstrating programming to the class)


  • Make sure each Raspberry pi has a working OS and SD Card
    • At home
    • At school
  • Install the following libraries:
  • Prepare each SD card with source code

Curricular Plan

Week one:

Additional Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

Week 2

  • Continue work on circuit setup
  • Introduce the python programming environment on the Pi (which they will need to read input from the GPIO pins). Base code for controlling pins Get a working program that responds to a button press
  • Come up with a plan for decorating the robot

Week 3

  • Introduce Tinkercad
  • Work on Robot decoration project (physical world & regular world)
  • Programming
    • Introduce conditionals
    • Work on printing out a string if a button is pressed.
    • Possibly: Improve the button press program by adding de-bouncing

Week 4


  • Print Picture of LED circuit
  • Bring LEDs and Resistors, breakout boards, etc.
  • Bring printed versions of bookmarks/name tags that are finished


  • LED circuit tutorial
  • Programming
    • Introduce the concept of output to LEDs
    • Build a circuit that lights an LED up
    • Write a program that lights an LED up
    • Possibly: Work on a version of the circuit / program that has 2 LEDs instead of 1 (or more than 2 LEDs).
    • Possibly: Work on body parts
  • Further work on name tags/bookmarks

Week 5

  • Programming
    • Introduce concept of Morse code
    • Morse code picture guide
    • Write a program to flash whatever you want (doesn’t have to be morse code)
    • If students want to: Base code for displaying text using MORSE code
    • 3D modeling: Work on body parts
  • Others can work on other robotic decorations

Week 6

  • Assemble the robot
  • Catch up on programming tasks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

− 3 = 5