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Animatronic Bee Project Educates CPS Students

In 2019, STEM educators at CCSD began a project to build animatronic insects for Chillicothe Primary School. Teachers wanted to use giant insects as teaching tools for CPS students, and they planned to hang the models from the walls at CPS. Former CCSD Director of Technology Josh Montgomery secured a model honeybee similar to ones built for the New York Natural History Museum – the only difference is that this model had a hollow thorax to add motors. Montgomery received the model in 2020 and worked with students from Southern State Community College to identify how the bee would function. This month he finalized the project, which will be utilized in the STEM curriculum at CPS!  

The animatronic bee has one 45KG servo motor in the hollow thorax that moves all four wings at the same time. The bee sits on a box, which includes a microcontroller that runs the code for moving the wings and playing custom bee sounds. 

STEM teachers at CPS plan to use the animatronic bee as an extra part of curriculum about honeybees to show students in-depth details of the insect. Students can press a button on the front of the box to see the bee flap its wings and make realistic noises.  

This addition to the district offers a unique and in-depth look at honeybees, which advances our primary STEM program and gives young learners a new way to look at the world around them.