by Jonathan Gennick
Friday I had great fun visiting a Lego Robotics class at Great
Lakes Adventist Academy in Cedar Lake, Michigan. I'm learning that many
schools teach classes involving Lego
Mindstorms, a family of Lego products combining the study of robotics and
programming. There's even an international competion run by First
Lego League International. I'm very interested in all this.
Friday's class began with one team finishing a previously assigned problem
that involved having their robot push black film-canisters out of a circle while
leaving white film-canisters in place inside the circle. There were a few bugs
to begin with, but after a few trial runs and adjustments the team managed to
produce a working solution. Cool!
The teacher then gave out the next problem, a rather interesting "enhancement"
of the previous. I was impressed at the way team members worked together to
attack the new challenge. I was even more impressed when I saw students reusing
code, building their new program using previously developed solutions for simpler
problems. For example, the students all seemed to have a canned line-following
routine that they could just drop-in when needed.
Lego Mindstorms look to be a really fun way to develop logic and problem-solving
skills. And when you're done writing a program, you have something tangible
that anyone, programmer or non-programmer, can appreciate. Kids today sure are
I want to learn more. Post below, or drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you're using Lego Mindstorms at school. Let me know what you're doing and how it's working.
Granted, not as flexible or utterly cool as Midstorms, but Logo was da bomb back in my day (my day being 1985, when I was in fifth grade... do the math...)
Another cool modular robotic kit
I do remember Logo, though I only played around with it once for a couple of days. What I see the kid doing with Lego (at least so far) resembles your description of using Logo. (Logo, Lego, they're oh, so close
Well, I just started grad school in Northwestern University's "Learning Sciences" program (which combines computer science, cognitive science, design, and education) with the express purpose of building new, better tools for students.
I'm pretty sure MindStorms came from the same lab that Logo did.
|my team lego robot is now ready to compete|