For over 4 years I have been involved in teaching LEGO Robotics to Middle School students. I introduced a LEGO Robotics to The York School in September 2011. Since then, there has been an explosion of LEGO robotic activities! Its relationship in education is rich and I have outlined some of our experiences below.
Lessons Learnt from FIRST LEGO League
Twenty two students in our school were involved in the FIRST LEGO League this year. We had 4 teams in total and the learning outcomes were vast. Over the course of the season, students learnt to work in groups, to communicate effectively and use their time wisely. These lessons cannot be taken lightly as they came from high pressure situations.
While watching the students work, I noticed the spontaneous building that would occur using both the new NXT kit and old RCX kit. All creations were unique in aesthetic respect as well as in functionality. It is significant to note that a tool like LEGO can leverage student innovation and creative; creation is limitless.
Lessons Learnt from Curricular Robotics
The grade 6 robotics unit taught within design technology class has been designed to teach the basics: building and programming. Students learn the uses of various sensors, the components involved in construction as well as basic programming. This year, I asked students to build the base robot using the NXT instruction manual. The purpose of building a base robot from instructions encouraged students to understand the relationship between the various components. Students went through the process of building and learning to create basic programs. They were introduced to the sensors and in less than a week the students were programming their robots to do complete complex challenges!
Last year we had fewer kits and students were in groups of 3-4 students. This year the program has been modified and students work in pairs. This has encouraged greater communication and responsibility on each partner. I am excited to start the grade 7 robotics unit in May!by