Tag Archives: Lego® WeDo

The Brick Chronicles :: A Lego WeDo Challenge for November

The Brick Chronicles feature unique creations made with Lego® bricks. Hopefully you, and the children in your life, will find them as inspiring as I do!

Lots of Legos®, lots of computers and a spark of an idea.

Lots of Lego WeDo sets, lots of legos® and lots of computers to complete that spark of an idea.

For the last few years, I have been gleaning ideas from the fabulous web site,  Dr. E’s WeDo Challenges. They offer monthly challenges  – taking a break during the summer – and they are incredibly creative. The site offers very few suggestions, so the kids are truly encouraged to come up with their own ideas to meet the challenge. This month, Dr. E asked the kids to consider the future of furniture.

The kids had every intention of completing last month’s Halloween challenge, but our projects ate up all of the extra time. This month, I made sure we wouldn’t wait until the last minute.  I pulled out the three WeDo sets, showed off the challenge and took a big step back.  After an hour of tinkering, they moved past the “safe” choice — a flipped bed — and started to make some modifications. I’ve noticed that copying is a great spring board for creativity (and love this ‘evolution of a maker’ post).  Can we build that – and once we do – how can we make it our own?

Check out R’s video submission for the November challenge – a combination alarm clock, burglar alarm and wake-up routine.

 

The Brick Chronicles :: Lego EV3 and WeDo Robots

The Brick Chronicles feature unique creations made with Lego® bricks. Hopefully you, and the children in your life, will find them as inspiring as I do!

The first EV3 robot build - from instructions. Made by R, age 9.

The first EV3 robot build – from instructions. Made by R, age 9.

This past week I finally had a chance to sit down and actually work with our new EV3 robots. After cracking open the educational version of the EV3 software, I could see how this could be overwhelming to a typical ten-year-old (and their parents). Since I teach kids how to use the Lego@ WeDo software and Scratch, the programming was less intimating, but there was a general question of “where do I start?” Once my eldest son and I started tinkering with the programming, we encountered some very different and much more advanced features. We’ve only played with it for a couple of hours and there are still some basic things we need to work out. For example, how do you make the blasted thing do a consistent 90-degree turn?

I’ve since learned that for each robot that you make, the turning “number” will be different. This makes sense and shows the depth of the software and robotic features of the Mindstorms. Yet, that can be pretty overwhelming to a new robotic user.

The first thing I did was to print out the “user guide.” Yes, I printed it out! I like the idea of referring to something physical (and making notes) while I work with the software. It will also be available to the students to use (if they so choose).  While many of my students would rather try, try and try again, I do have the occasional student who finds reference materials helpful. In addition, I’ve digitally “checked out” this book from my local library and it’s proving to be more helpful than the “guide” in the software.

While my oldest son and I delve into Mindstorms, my youngest is ready to progress beyond just tinkering with the WeDo set and is focusing more on the different aspects of programming. A couple more months of working and he’ll be ready to tackle some of the fun challenges at Dr. E’s.

In fact, this child is less of a builder and more interested in telling the computer what to do. Just like his mother!

In fact, this child is less of a builder and is more interested in telling the computer what to do. Just like his mother!

 

 

The Brick Chronicles :: Lego WeDo® Playground Challenge

The Brick Chronicles feature unique creations made with Lego® bricks. Hopefully you, and the children in your life, will find them as inspiring as I do!

In my camps, I want the students to get comfortable with the WeDo software before asking them to respond to a particular challenge. I’ve noticed that coming up with their own structures comes quite naturally to them, but brainstorming an answer to a particular problem can present some difficulty. From the beginning, they are encouraged to adapt, modify and experiment with the “formal” structures that they build…playing with the software as they go.

After they’ve gotten a good hold on how it works (usually in the last couple of days), I ask them to think about how they can create a particular type of structure. One of the first challenges is always the “playground equipment” challenge. I ask the students to think about, and possibly sketch their favorite piece of playground equipment. Then, I give them some parameters to work with (i.e. it must use one mechanized part). The rest is up to them.

The videos I have featured below showcase only two of my past students’ projects. While all of the projects were quite worthy, these two students faced many challenges with these projects and had to revise them many, many times to get it to work just right.

For those of you who don’t know about gaga ball, the players hit a rubber ball with their hands and try to touch the other players and get them out. I just learned about it myself this past summer and I would liken it to a gentler version of dodge ball, yet still fiercely competitive.

 

The Brick Chronicles :: Lego® WeDo Household Appliance Challenge

The Brick Chronicles feature unique creations made with Lego® bricks. Hopefully you, and the children in your life, will find them as inspiring as I do!

Check out these Vimeo submissions for the “Household Appliance” Challenge. After a few days of working through the classic Lego® builds (i.e. the ones where you follow the instructions), I challenge the students to come up with their own creations. Of course, they have to do all of the programming all by themselves!