Need Some Distance Learning Ideas for COVID-19?

Now that more kids are attending an online high school, they will have more spare time in their hands. Here’s a short list of some of the things that you could do in CIM class with your kiddos while trying out distance learning. All will require a computer (That’s what the C in “CIM” stands for!) and some will require software downloaded… but feel free to change them around to fit your needs!

Research Project: Assign students to build a brochure, via google docs to make a brochure on a manufacturing process. Have them find a link to an interesting video on a process, watch it, and then add it to their brochure. Go HERE for the activity with a downloadable template. Go HERE for some exemplars.

Here’s an example of one of the brochures made with the template

Robotics Programming: Just got off the phone with Intellitek, and they said to go HERE to download the PLTW version of the software, and you have the free trial version. Even better is that if you give your students the key from your school district, they can unlock the full version at home. This is legit, and Intelitek said I could share this method via phone support. It will only work with this version! Wait! It gets better! Go HERE to get video tutorials for a lot of the Robocell projects!

Fusion Basics: Students can do some 3D modeling using fusion if they sign up in the autodesk student community. All of my students already have an account, then they log into their 360 account and use Fusion 360 in their browser! Kinda slow, so if you can download it, even better! The post HERE has downloadable worksheets and electronic hand ins for you and the students and a full set of videos to accompany them.

Advanced 3D modeling: Use your favorite software (Inventor/Fusion 360 was used for this activity) to complete these advanced models. The post HERE has downloadable worksheets and electronic hand ins for you and the students so that you can evaluate them from afar.

This would be another activity that you might be able to use as a distance learning project during the COVID-19 outbreak as well.

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11 Blockly-Workcell Design

Download it!
A robotic workcell is defined as the complete environment around a robot. This environment may include tools, machines and/or other robots.

In this activity you will use a robot and a microcontroller system to recreate a workcell. Your workcell will incorporate all of the devices that you have learned about in previous activities including:
● Inputs & outputs
● Sensors
● Conveyor belt
● Machines
● Robots
You and your team will design, organize, create, program and test a full work cell.

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Robocell: Getting Started

Robocell is a very powerful software simulation for industrial robotics. It has a great simulation window that lets you see what would happen if you have a robotic arm. I strongly recommend that you purchase an arm though…. The kids love it, and get a lot out of having it in the classroom.

Robocell Basics

Here’s some basic information that you need to know BEFORE you even open the program.
Includes: Saving files, Order of Operations, Starting new projects, Importing 3D models, Writing the program.


CellSetup: Setting up your cell

Four minutes of all you need to know to make a cell to begin programming! Remember: CellSetup is a different program than Robocell! Includes info on:
Navigation, YX coordinate system, Adding components, Editing components, Showing/Hiding Envelope.

Robocell Activity A: Cell Setup (Record)

In this video learn the basics of making a cell in the Cell Setup portion of Robocell. From adding objects, to placing them correctly, it is all covered in this seven minute video.


Robocell Activity B: Cell Setup (Teach)

In this six minute tutorial learn how to “Teach” positions in Robocell, and learn how it is different from “Record”.

Robocell: Using Variables

In this tutorial learn how to use variables to stack four blocks in a very simple manner. Also learn how to make labels and use an IfJump command in Robocell as well. This goes along with activity 3.1.2F in the PLTW CIM curriculum.


Robocell: Gravity Feeder/ASRS Demonstration

Students in my CIM class built an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) using a bunch of switches, a gravity feeder, and an ER4-U robot. They programmed it to pick and place parts from the feeder into the ASRS, and be able to tell where the parts are, and if the feeder is empty, or if the ASRS is full. Next up: Sorting by colors!


Thanks to Moises Gonzales, here’s a list of RoboCell Shortcuts you can use in your classroom!



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Robocell Activities 3.12a to 3.12d

Robocell is a robotic simulation program made by Intellitek and it is used in CIM classrooms around the nation to demonstrate and teach robotic programing. There is also a seperate program; it’s really a package deal, that allows you to build your cell first. This is called CellSetup. Then you use Robocell to do the simulations.


Below are some videos that demonstrate the basics of using this software. Some videos below do not have any sound track.


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What are the Robocell shortcuts?


What are all of the Robocell shortcuts? is there a list somewhere?


There is just such a list, and special thanks to Moises Gonzalez for compiling it for us! There’s a picture below, or you can download it at the link below. The link will download a PDF with 4 per sheet so you can cut them up and pass them out to students to use in class.


reddownloadRobocell Shortcuts 4up



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Robocell Tutorials

on Tuesday, 17 March 2015.


robocellteaserRobocell is a very powerful robotic simulation program that allows you to teach and learn how to program robotic arms without all the costly hardware!

Students really enjoy it, and think of it as a video game. Students build a 3d Cell, import it, teach or record some points, then program the robot how to get there.

The videos below live on my youtube channel, and there will be more to follow!


-Saving files
-Order of Operations
Starting new projects
-Importing 3D models
-Recording positions
-Writing the program


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2015 CIM CTI Factory Smackdown!

Awesome factories built by teachers at CIM CTI this year!

What do you get when you put a bunch of teachers together, teach them about industrial robotics and automation, then give them VEX and Lynxmotion robots?  Factories of course!   See some of the spectacular projects teachers from around the country have come up with in the videos below.

The idea is to take all that you have learned in two weeks, and apply it to a factory that you build in a day. So what you see is a culminating activity that these teachers put together, video, then tear down in a mere 24 hours.  Nice job everyone!  Keep the videos coming…

University of Kentucky’s 2015 Factory that includes an AGV, multiple robotic arms, and sorts items with a light sensor. It simulates a recycling facility.
CalPoly’s 2015 Factory that Assembles the lid to a container that was built in the previous unit of the CIM course. 
That’s right…. CalPoly built TWO factories this year! This one does a powder coating operation on a metal part. 
UMBC’s CIM team made one that inflates footballs for the New England Patriots!
Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) entry is a factory that builds and tests nerf darts!
Would you like to see a playlist of older factories built at previous CTI’s?  CLICK HERE

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Automated Switch Manufacturing Cell:

on Wednesday, 25 February 2015.


teaser2So you know about the cell that Marquardt Switches donated to Cazenovia High School, right?  There’s a little more info here.

Scott Hansen, The engineer who designed and built the cell that manufactures power tool switches came to school to briefly explain how the cell operates.

The cell was used to make power tool switches, and was donated to our department. This year, a group of EDD students are going to disassemble it, bring it into the classroom, and reassemble it.

Watch this video below for a quick intro to what it does, and stay tuned for much, much more.


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