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Overnight Painting Machine: Pico Cricket Activity

Source Institutions

    Science Museum of Minnesota

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Overnight Painting Machine: Pico Cricket Activity

This activity requires a Pico Cricket (tiny computer). In this activity, learners will build a painting machine out of house hold materials, like a cereal box and some thread, use Lego parts to build a pulley, and program a microcontroller called a Pico Cricket to make paintings while you sleep. The machine dips a piece of paper in the paint so that the pigment soaks in slowly and raises it out in the morning. This activity is great for teaching how to build and design a painting machine, how to use Lego parts and motors, and how to program a Pico Cricket.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
4 to 24 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
    • Technology
  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Computers
  • Electronics


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • Public Domain

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 0087813


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