During the holidays the boys participated in a Lego Mindstorms Robotic Workshop. It was brilliant and Ethan rated the day as an 11 out of 10 experience!
It was led by Damien Kee, an independent technology education expert.
He was a wonderful teacher – he held the children’s attention, managed their boy behaviours, while leading this mixed ability group, step by step, towards a technically challenging collaborative final task.
Damien provided all of the laptops and Lego Mindstorm sets. Everything was incredibly well organised.
We started the morning by building Damien’s “Domabot”. This is where Brayden excelled. He’s our Lego builder and designer. But to keep up with the other fast paced students he had Ethan building smaller components for him.
This was their completed “Domabot”. He could easily be related to Walle!
As the children finished their building, Damien asked them to put their ‘hands on their heads’. Ethan put his hands on his forehead and Brayden did his own quirky version of this very schooly technique. Both were completely baffled by this unusual display.
Hehehe. Poor homeschooled mites.
I was under the impression that the workshop was for homeschooling children but later found out that we were in the minority. This explains why my men looked like ducks out of water. Ah but they held their own. 🙂
Since Liam was on school holidays he tagged along with us. I think he secretly enjoyed the day as much as the boys.
Once the Domabots were built, Damien walked the children through the programming software and had the groups complete progressively complex tasks.
Ethan was in his element with a computer in front of him and programming challenges to solve.
Brayden kept a keen eye on the proceedings and delighted in helping demonstrate the robots’ programmed commands.
After lunch the challenges turned cooperative (and increasingly complex) and each group was given specific directions that enables their robot to function as an element of a whole.
Step by step commands were added to their program, each group working alongside each other
Until finally every robot was ready to work together to create a joint performance.
A final component was added – a sound sensor – and now the children could yell “GO!” in unison to commence their robotic group performance.
The Lego Robotics Workshop was truly excellent. My boys learned a lot and I believe we’re about to get a whole lot poorer with the inevitable purchase of a Lego Mindstorm set. (Well in July, when we travel to America where the prices are much more reasonable and also, coincidentally, when the new version is released. How convenient!)