Junk Drawer Robotics

two 4H members working on building a robot using assorted pieces

The Junk Drawer Robotics toolkit is based on the National 4-H Curriculum, Junk Drawer Robotics. It is geared towards middle school students, but engineering and science activities can be adapted to be appropriate for high school or, with assistance, elementary students. Materials in the kit center around the idea of robotics design. There are three levels with the curriculum, focusing on: robotic arms, hands & grippers, moving, power transfer & locomotion, connections between mechanical and electronic elements. More information on facilitating these units, and a sample activity are posted here.

Level 1 robotic arms, hands & grippers

Level 2 moving, power transfer & locomotion

Level 3 connections between mechanical and electronic elements.


Are you interested in learning more about what the University of Maine and UMaine system campuses offer?

The University of Maine offers over 100 academic majors! To learn more either:

Visit UMaine’s Find a Major.

Explore our other campuses here.

If you need help connecting to UMaine or one of the other UMaine System campuses, contact us by email or call (207) 581-3877 and ask for Laura, Greg, or Sarah!

Contact 4-HScience@maine.edu to reserve a toolkit.


If you liked the Junk Drawer Robotics experience, come and visit the University of Maine!

The UMaine College of Engineering has year-round tours and hands-on activities on campus for all age students. UMaine College of Engineering is very committed to encouraging our youth, especially girls to explore engineering careers through the Girls Engineer Maine (GEM) program. To schedule a visit for your group, contact your UMaine Extension County Office, and they will work to arrange a convenient time. Boys are welcome too!

Did you know you can minor in Robotics at UMaine (archived catalog)?  The robotics minor at UMaine is designed to provide a fundamental understanding of the robotic operation and preliminary training in the design and use of robots. This minor is intended to equip students with some fundamental knowledge and information on robotic manipulators, structures, systems, and related applications. In particular, statics, kinematics, dynamics, and control of robots will be covered in this minor. Robotic systems have wide application in modern technology and manufacturing. The students choosing this minor can also specialize, by completing special projects within the various courses, in certain aspects of intelligent robotics such as mobile walking robots, robotic vision, robotic surgery, and surgical microrobots as well as the design and applications of robots for hazardous tasks and environments.