LEGO Mindstorms robot kits were the focus of the workshop last evening. Although our robots had already been constructed by another class, we enjoyed the programming aspect of the kits.
The programming software that accompanies the robots is fairly straight forward, especially if you have been experimenting with Scratch Jr. or any of the other beginning programming apps that I recently suggested. The touch sensor and colour senor gave us an idea of how we could program directions for the robot in case of hitting a wall or following a path on a mat.
Our instructor had patience to allow us to experiment with changing many of the programming variables and testing out the results.
I am convinced that these robots, although costly, would be a great addition to any middle or high school setting. As students watch the immediate effects of their programming changes, they are learning programming logic and design.
I will also learn how to build the robots and send them on various tasks to develop an idea of how far the robots and their programming goes but for now, it looks like they are a great investment. It was totally engaging and hands-on. I was absorbed by the learning and never looked at the clock.
I can imagine the excitement in a grade 5 or 6 class when these kits are introduced. It would be hard to concentrate on anything else. I would suggest setting aside time each day to work on the building and equipping of the robots before the programming ever starts and having LEGO mentors from among your class to help facilitate those who are less familiar with the steps to build LEGO.
The kits offered amazing engagement for all of us.