Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger is a juvenile fiction book for 4-6th graders.
When Max—Maxine Zealster—befriends her schools newest student, a robot named Fuzzy, she totally did not know what she was getting herself into. Max has been recruited to help Vanguard One Middle School’s new Robot Integration Program, by showing Fuzzy the ropes. Together they navigate hallways, eat lunch, attend class and all the usual middle school activities… including getting in trouble.
Little do Fuzzy and Max know but BARBARA, the school’s digital student evaluation system, has it out for them. The more Fuzzy learns, the more “human” he becomes and as he and Max become friends, Fuzzy realizes he has a more important mission then the robot integration program… Help Max.
Will Fuzzy and Max make it through sixth grade intact?
I really enjoyed this one. So much so, that I chose it as my November book for my 4th-6th grade STEM book club. This one was meant to be a little easier than our book last month. It was a quick read and I think one that you could pull morals and themes out of with it still being a lot of fun.
I think the kids will enjoy the futuristic aspects of the book and deciding just how much technology is a good/bad thing. Overall, this was a fun one that works perfectly with my STEM theme.
For this STEM club we have 10 discussion questions and then we are going to create our own paper circuits. We’ll see how it goes!
1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?
2. Fuzzy uses “fuzzy logic,” what is fuzzy logic and why does this make Fuzzy a good robot?
3. Fuzzy begins to act more and more “human” each day. What are two examples of Fuzzy’s humanity?
4. Fuzzy takes place in a technologically advanced future. Computers and robots are used for everything. Are there pros and cons to this?
5. If you could pick one “thing” for a robot to do for you what would it be and why?
6. What would you do if your school assigned dTags and required Constant Upgrading like Max’s school? How would this hurt and/or help your education?
7. Page 173 – <Max> I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… Let’s cheat! – What do you think of Max’s decision to cheat? Was she right, wrong? Can you think of another way they could have handled this situation?
8. Page 224 – That’s like killing him. The Fuzzy we know will die. – How did you feel when you found out the government was going to delete Fuzzy’s memory? Do you agree that it is the same as killing him even though he is a robot? Why?
9. Why was Barbara a better candidate for the exploration of Mars than Fuzzy?
10. Do you think you would make friends with a robot? What qualities of a good friend might a robot have?
Creating Paper Circuits
Supplies: Card stock paper; Copper tape, ¼ inch wide and double-sided conductive; Scissors; 3V lithium button battery; 5mm LEDs; Clear tape
Take your button battery and one of your LEDs. Find the positive and negative side of both by sliding the button battery between the prongs of the LED. Did it light up? Try flipping the battery. Once it lights up you will have found your positive and negative connections. Remember, positive connects to a negative, negative to a positive
Fold your card stock in half so it looks like a card. Put it aside
Take your smaller square of paper and using the copper tape, follow the template, lay down your circuit.
When you get to your light spread the prongs apart and make sure they are fully covered by the copper tape. Remember your +/-. If you attach the wrong connections your LED won’t light up. Use clear tape if needed.
Continue running the tape on the other side of the light following the template. You need to make this as smooth as possible without ripping.
Attach your button battery negative side down. When you fold over the corner and touch the beginning end of the tape to the top of the battery your LED should light up.
* **Note** You may need to be careful taping the button battery. If you cover the battery completely the connection is harder to make. Try just taping the edges.
Did it light up? Check your connections, do you have them the right way? Are there any gaps in your copper tape?
Once you have your light working, lay it inside of your cardstock to see where the light will shine through. Make a mark on the front of the cardstock.
Create your card/picture/etc. Remember where the light shines through and draw your picture incorporating the light.
Put it all together and see what you get!
-What observations can you make about your circuits? What worked and didn’t work? Why?
-Electricity is a type of energy that can build up in one place or flow from one place to another. For an electric current to happen, there must be a circuit. A circuit is a complete path around which electricity can flow. It must include a source of electricity, such as a battery. Materials that allow electric current to pass through them easily, called conductors, can be used to link the positive and negative ends of a battery, creating a circuit.
-In an open or broken circuit, there is a break along the line, and the current stops. In a closed or complete circuit, electric current can flow. When electric current flows, it can be used by electrical appliances, such as light bulbs.
**Adult supervision required**
*Safety Note* Button batteries are very dangerous if they are swallowed. Please be sure that the children making paper circuit art are old enough not to put objects into their mouths. After the paper circuit cards are complete, please instruct the children not to leave them in a location where a younger brother or sister can get to them.
How’d it go:
Well, we had to reschedule this one because of snow, so we had a much smaller crowd then we usually do. But that’s OK because we could have used 5 of me to help instruct the activity! The paper circuits definitely needed more than my allotted 30 minutes. We had a few successfully make circuits but most of them didn’t get it on their first try but by the time we left, they seemed confident that they could actually do it from home. And because we had such a small group, I let them all take home enough supplies to do a second paper circuit.
In terms of the discussion, I was floored when the majority of my group told me that deleting Fuzzy’s memory was NOT the same as killing him. We had a lot of discussion about this, which was neat.
Overall, I think it went well. Hopefully, no snow will get in the way of December!
That’s all for now!