Some time ago, we bought a LEGO WeDo set. The WeDo sets are available through LEGO Education and are used to introduce mid-elementary kids to robotics. Through a series of activities, you build mechanisms and program them to solve a variety of problems.
Last night, I decided it was time to try it out with the girls. I installed the software on my laptop and played around with it a little bit after they had gone to bed. I learned how to tell the LEGO motor to turn in different directions, at different speeds, or for a certain amount of time. There is a tilt sensor, which can be used to perform an action when the sensor is tilted in a certain direction or when it is level; there’s also a motion sensor for performing actions when the sensor is near (or not near) another object.
Today, I showed them briefly how it worked, and they were very excited to try it out. So, after dinner, DH sat down with the girls and they experimented with programming the motor. No mechanisms, just setting up a series of commands and then predicting what would happen to the motor. They loved it.
Here we are trying out the tilt sensor, which O6 is holding while DH holds the little motor. We told the computer to turn the motor when the sensor was tilted up, and it did exactly that!
Now that the kids have figured out the basics of how to program, we’re going to go through the “getting started” series of activities, which will let them combine the motor with a variety of gears, pulleys, and other systems. Then we can get into some of the actual mechanisms.
Earlier tonight, we went to gymnastics. O6 has 15 stickers and S8 has 18. They are about halfway through their level already. Tonight they worked a lot on the balance beam and vault.