Trash robotics

Buinho Education is a sub-branch of Buinho, a fablab located in the South of Portugal ( Besides aiming to contribute to the democratization of access to digital technologies, Buinho has been creating a specialization in the environmental sustainability field of action, since the creation of our region’s first Precious Plastic workshop ( 

Since then we have been developing innovative strategies that combine environmental and digital education, some of which have been recognized as good practices by the Erasmus program.


Trash Robotics Erasmus structured course is the result of previous and current activities of Buinho in the teaching of coding, robotics, and electronics using Electric Waste (EWaste), thus also focusing on green and societal competencies development. Buinho currently coordinates an Erasmus consortium (PT01-KA121-SCH-000010598) that also aims to bring some of these innovative practices to 12 public schools in the region where we operate. We are now sharing through this course a set of best practices that we have been designing and implementing in schools since 2018 when we first designed the first toy hacking and repair workshops in classrooms. 

By taking this course you will not only learn basic principles of robotics, coding, and electronics for education, but you will also learn how to recycle and reuse obsolete electronic devices to gather the components to operate functional new devices and robots. We will guide you through every step of the way, providing the practical know-how, methodologies, structured activities to implement during the school year, and online additional support. All of which to  enable you to start teaching all that you learned during this course into your classroom.

In the “Trash Robotics” course, you will learn how to identify electronic components, troubleshoot and identify functional pieces in broken devices, how to operate those electronic components in a fun and educational school projects, how to use electronic tools, and how to hack the function of traditional electronic objects with the help of microcontrollers that students can program to do other things.

The courses are made in a fablab/makerspace environment, which means that the participants will be granted free access to other digital prototyping equipment like laser cutters or vinyl cutters, which can be helpful for the customization of the machines – Inside a fablab, the only limit is your imagination!


As such, all the tools will be provided, we just ask the participants to bring a laptop as it will be needed for the software training.


By taking this course within a fablab, participants will also have free access to one hour of online courses and tutorials prepared by Buinho and available in our e-learning platform. Finally, the course also includes a cultural program, providing the opportunity to visit Portuguese landmarks and experience a bit of our Culture.



In Portugal, Buinho has been successfully teaching robotics, coding, and digital fabrication to children and youth from elementary to secondary school years, and we want to share some of our experiences with you. We have vast experience in teaching and capacitating teachers from different school years and with zero experience in these subjects. By working with public schools in Portugal we are also well aware of the budget constraints that in some cases provoke digital exclusion of poorer schools, and so have designed educational content that takes advantage of cheap or free equipment and components. In the case of this particular course, we also aim to raise the awareness of our students to the lack of sustainability of our consumerist society and the need to promote recycling, repairing, and reusing as good practices to a more sustainable future.

Target Groups – Elementary, Middle and Secondary School teachers

Duration of the course – Five days

Total Cost of the Course – 400€

Note: Each class will have a maximum of 12 participants to provide higher quality standards and more individualized support.


Day 1

9:00 – 11:00

Welcome session and introduction
We will receive the participants in the working space, making a short introduction to Buinho’s experience in the educational field. We will also dedicate some time to getting to know the participants but also their sending schools. You can bring a presentation.

11:00 – 12:00

Introduction to Electronics and Tinkering

Tinkering is when we spend time in trying to improve or repair something, and tinkering has proven to be a very useful learning tool for students in fields as electronics, engineering and design. We will quickly present you what are the principles of non formal Maker Education, introduce you to school makerspaces, and active learning methodologies and tools that you will learn during this course.

13:00 – 15:00

Basic Electronics tools and soldering – Making of a simple Automata

After all the presentations are made, we will start with the practical workshops that will continue for the entire course. In the afternoon we will teach how solder and how to use a multimeter, among other electronic tools.


We will work in individual projects, creating simple machines that move. This will enable participants to learn about circuits, wiring, actuators, power supply, switches, and how to solder.  A simple activity that can be easily translated into other creative projects for the students

Day 2

8:30 – 9:00

Gathering and breakfast
Every morning we will offer morning breakfast to the participants in the working space.

9:00 – 12:00

Introduction to Arduino and Ewaste hacking – hacking simple electronic components with Arduino´s microcontrollers

In this workshop, you will be introduced to a low-cost microcontroller that changed the world in 2005. The Arduino was the first prototyping electronic platform that enabled millions of students to be introduced to programming, robotics, and electronics in an easy and fun way.

We will also introduce you to another visual programming environment called Makeblock and learn how to use it to control this particular microcontroller and external components, enabling participants to learn how to hack and substitute the original function of a broken device.

13:00 – 15:00

Group project – Making an emotional bug

In the afternoon we will create groups and develop a practical project. You will select the components and objects you would like to hack, creating a new, futuristic, and interactive electronic animal made of spare parts and controlled by Arduino.

Day 3

9:00 – 18:00

Cultural day
We are presenting the opportunity for a group visit to Sintra as part of our cultural offering. Sintra is a charming Portuguese town situated within the cooling hills of the Serra de Sintra. Hidden among its majestic pine forest, you will discover whimsical palaces, extravagant villas and the ruins of a 10th-century Moorish castle. We will visit this UNESCO Heritage town, including its Museum and some of the most famous pastry shops. In the afternoon, we will continue with sightseeing and provide plenty of shopping opportunities. At the end of the day, we will return to our accommodation for dinner.

Day 4

8:30 – 9:00

Gathering and breakfast
Every morning we will offer morning breakfast to the participants in the working space

9:00 – 12:00

Trash Robotics – Development of Educational contents with Electronic Waste in the classroom. Activities and methodology

In this three hour session participants will learn how to disassemble electronic broken objects, identify working components, create a electronic trash library, and develop interesting projects with students on STEAM, robotics, and programming.


We will spend this morning also discussing on how to plan the spaces and the working methologies in the classroom, bringing the best practices of circular economy to your school.

13:00 – 15:00

Individual final project – Making a trash robot

In the afternoon we will help participants to make their own Trash Robot to bring back home. We will mentor and assist in your efforts, fueling your creativity and solving the technical questions.


This final activity will enable you to teach your students on how to bring environmental education to the teaching of robotics and coding in a fun and practical way.

Day 5

10:00 – 12:00

Brunch in Carcavelos Beach

Enjoying the best ocean view, and on the largest beach of the Lisbon Metropolitan area, Buinho organized a final morning brunch to commemorate the end of the training. It will also be an opportunity to further discuss, and in an informal environment, the next steps when returning to the school.


Since all of our students will have access to our free online content (which include video tutorials, explanations, activities, and useful work documents), we will also provide the basic information on how to use after this course.  


Finally, we will have an opportunity to present other Erasmus courses offered by Buinho, deliver the final certificates to all participants, and take a group photo.