Robot Puppet Theatre Play

Type of tool: 
120+ min
Topics addressed: 
Peer Education

Robot Puppet Theater Plays connect STEM with art classes, literature and critical thinking. It is aimed for both elementary and high school students. Based on collaboration, communicaiton and motivational approach, students program their own theater play.


To encourage interest for (required) readings and discussions by motivating students to contribute to the project with the skills they already have, based on their own interests, related to different professions, such as programming, visual art, acting etc.


The tool is an example of discovery and problem based learning, peer and active learning as well as way of tracking students' individual progress.
It implements: team work, correlation and use of knowledge learned in different classes, problem-solving and immediate feedback.

Step by step process: 

1 – Identify a problem, or a story, that will be told; and the messages that has to be sent. That step is the most similar to script writing and directing. Problems can be related to everyday (student) life, to readings, cultural and social happenings... Whatever students like to think about and discuss.
2 – Writing a synopsis and see which materials are needed for making puppets and the entire show.
3 – Making puppets, background, recording dialogs. Parallel with that it is important to rearrange the theater: scenography and system for the control of the puppets as well as the lightening system.
4 – Programming and connecting different elements to start a show.
5 – Reproducing a show and having a conversation on chosen topic; making evaluation of the entire work process and artistically enjoying a play.

Materials and resources: 

The Robot Puppet Theatre (a device), a computer, and materials for puppets and scenography design (paper, textile, 3D printer if available, scissors, glue etc.)


Since this is a group activity, the most highlighted outcome is going to be a change in students’ behaviour when they realize their needs for successful peer cooperation. Only with an excellent group dynamic will students be able to design and perform a show. After a well done job their self-confidence will rise as well as their grit to try more complex scenarios.
Furthermore they will have to learn background information on a topic they choose, without having a feeling they are doing something unnecessary. That is why this tool is great in investigating and learning about social issues (growing up, violence, drug abuse…), languages, culture and behavior, science and environment etc.


So far the tool is in development, initial data show building of interest due to correlation and "real use" of learned knowledge.

Notes for further use: 

In Varna the tool can be implemented as a two hours (120 min) long workshop.
Based on step by step approach, participants would be making their own play. The recommended story would be "The Emperor's New Cloth" by Hans Christian Andersen. After choosing a plot, participants would write a synopsis having different characters in mind, program instructions in MIT Scratch, record dialogs, make their puppets and connect all parts to start a robot puppet theater play.
Workshop like that has not yet been held publicly and works the best with 5-10 people. In case of more participants, two different plays could be designed.

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