Tag Archives: Lego®

The Brick Chronicles :: Lego Food Truck

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!

A Lego food truck made by R, age 10, and C, age 6.

A Lego food truck made by R, age 10, and C, age 6.

This lego food truck was a multi-day, cooperative project as both boys worked together to build various parts of this truck. I had to laugh at how accurate they were in creating the pizza oven and walk-up windows. I can’t remember the last time we actually ate from a food truck, but apparently my boys are keen observers (when they want to be, anyway).  I am most impressed with the sense of detail that went into the design. Check out the following pictures as we explore the world of legos, food trucks and creative design.

The two drivers take charge of the food truck.

The two drivers take charge of the food truck. Eww- those windows need to be washed!

A brick pizza oven

A brick pizza oven

My favorite part of this lego food truck (besides the walk-up windows) is the intricate design of the brick pizza oven. Many years ago, we used to be regulars at a Sunday farmer’s market near Tampa (we’ve since moved from there), but oh, the pizza from the brick oven was fabulous. So amazing, apparently, that five years later my oldest son still remembers it fondly.

A worker retrieving pizza from the stone oven.

A worker retrieving pizza from the stone oven.

Although I didn’t get a picture of it, the outside part of the oven is removable for maintenance (I presume)? That way, no one has to be disappointed by a poorly cooked pizza. Just head up to the window and pick up your order – no box required!

Order a stone-fired pizza from this lego food truck.

Order a stone-fired pizza from this lego food truck.

The Brick Chronicles :: Lego Leatherman

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!

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Lego leatherman tool made by R, age 10.

I know what you are thinking – why are we advocating for pocket knives to be made out of legos? Well…I think it has something to do with being the parent of boys. Despite all of our attempts to provide gender-neutral toys and shelter them from violence and toy guns, my oldest child is fascinated with guns, world wars and pretending to shoot things. Sigh. Plus, he’s ten…and ten-year-old boys are ready for “dangerous” tools.

So, I keep an eye on the research about said things and embrace the “dangerous” things so that I am not denying some biological need. We still strongly advocate for using words and they get in trouble for resolving disputes with physical altercations, but I’ve always encouraged them to build things out of legos that I won’t buy them (and that includes toy guns). This way they get to play in a way that they need – and I can still show my face at the moms’ group.

Ironically, these pocket knives came about because as he gets older, we feel he is ready to experience the “real” thing and that includes a pocket knife. For his tenth birthday, he received a Leatherman tool and he’s been chopping outside things all over the place. It’s a way to teach responsibility while he’s still under our roof. Honestly, he was ready last year, but his younger brother was not and we weren’t sure that it would stay out of said younger bother’s hands.

We still shy away from violent video games (there’s a lot of research on that) and we don’t encourage fantastical movie violence, but we’ve found that for our oldest son – embracing the “dangerous” has actually encouraged a healthy respect for it.

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Lego leatherman tools – opened with pocket knife and small screwdriver.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!! However, if you aren’t celebrating anything this December, then I hope you enjoy the break from school and work. I know that I’m really looking forward to it.

Even though Santa doesn't visit our house, my kids love the idea of him and his reindeer. Or, in this case, rein-dogs. Made by C, age 6.

Even though ‘Santa’ doesn’t visit our house, my kids love his reindeer-pulled sleigh.  Made by C, age 6.

I will be taking a blogging hiatus for the next two weeks to enjoy this time with my family. I have lots of cookies to bake and a pile of books to read.  We’re looking forward to delving deeply into some self-directed projects – mine and the kids. We’ve tinkered with some Arduino in the last few weeks and made some really cool LED art projects, but we haven’t had as much time to work on robotics and programming.  We are all really excited to switch our focus from traditional “academic” work to lots of hands-on projects – electronic and not so much.

In the queue are some books to start and finish – The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey, Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis. With the homeschooling break for my kids, I will have a chance to delve deeply into my Coursera course on web development, and crack open the two new books on Lego Mindstorms that just came in.  I’m looking forward to all of it and hope that you and your family enjoy the time together.

 

The Brick Chronicles :: Lego Spaceship Transporter

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!

Homemade lego flying office

Homemade lego spaceship transporter

Have I mentioned how much I love legos?

I love that we can have a huge bin of these small, plastic bricks and they can become any toy that my kids want to play with at the moment. This helps them to use their imagination, be creative and to think about the bricks in a new way. My kids can play with legos for hours and the time goes by quickly since they are in a state of flow.  It also cuts down on the clutter (sort of) since we don’t provide shelf space for lots of single-purpose toys.

At our house, these “new” toys become play objects, such as personal offices or your very own fighter jet. These are all of the toys that my kids might want, but that my husband and I do not buy for them.  In this particular case, my youngest son made a spaceship transporter – because who wouldn’t want a place to land your spaceship, especially if it had laser guns!

Check out the personalized laser guns!

Check out the personalized laser guns! Made by C, age 6.

Brick Chronicles :: Mini Lego Microscope

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!

A micro Lego microscope, made by R, age 10.

A mini Lego microscope, made by R, age 10.

This mobile lab – complete with an over-sized telephone – is a forensic scientist’s dream. In addition to the bright red communication device, this lab also comes with a desk, chair, coffee maker and microscope. This is a scientist after my own heart – a coffee maker AND a microscope? Fabulous!

Our real-life experiences with microscopes have been few and far between, so I love that his lego men need one on a daily basis.  I am especially impressed with the use of the connector piece – typically used for movable walls or opening chests – to connect the lens of the microscope.

What are you going to make today?

Mini lego microscope and mobile laboratory.

Mini lego microscope and mobile laboratory.

 

 

The Brick Chronicles :: French Lego R2-D2

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!

French R2D2 made by R, age 9.

French Lego R2-D2 model made by R, age 9.

Yes, I know that it sounds silly and odd, but my son has got Star Wars on the brain. After seeing the trailer for the next movie, who could blame him? My husband I are just as excited! Old characters, new characters and the potential that good characters have turned to the dark side? Oh, yes, this is definitely a mainstream movie that we will go and see.

In a completely related note, I am quite thrilled that the French language lessons are also rooting somewhere in his brain. Now, if only they would stick as well in mine…

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The Brick Chronicles :: Lego Ferry Boat

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!

A Lego® ferry boat made by R, age 9.5.

A Lego® ferry boat made by R, age 9.5.

IMG_1373This little creation was inspired by a keen interest in city transportation. There was an elaborate Lego city and my boys needed a quick and easy way to get around…hence, the ferry boat. I love the usefulness of upside-down legos!

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 :: Trolley

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!

Lego® Trolley

An electric trolley, made by R, age 9 1/2.

On most days, there are two nine-year-olds playing and working at my house. My son…and his friend. Currently, they are caught up in maps, city layouts and utilities. What started out as a paper project has now morphed into a 3-D Lego® world – and I am enjoying the creativity that is happening all around. This trolley is part of a larger city  – one that includes an articulated truck – complete with yarn for electric wires, O-trains and suburbs.