WHY LEGO ROBOTICS?
Stimulate interests in learning
- Robotics learning connects to “real-world” situations – building associations between things they know and things they learned.
- By learning while experimenting, students will find it fun and wanting to learn more.
- The more they are engaged in the learning process, the better they will retain the information.
Premier integrator in education
- Robotics learning includes designing, building, programming, testing and improving of autonomous robots.
- It incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. Many schools and institutions across the world have included robotics learning to develop interest in Science and Numeracy subjects.
- Young learners can develop scientific enquiry skills and understand technological concepts through robotics learning.
- Robotics also develops soft skills like teamwork, time management, problem solving, and communication.
Enhances both creative and critical thinking
- Robotics learning allows for creativity in design. Students practice brainstorming to find creative alternative solutions.
- It concurrently stimulates both the right (creativity) and left (logical thinking, problem solving) sides of the brain.
Provides a head start to the world of programming
- LEGO MINDSTORMS and LEGO WEDO provide platforms for students to learn and develop programming skills.
- It is being widely complemented as an essential tool for teaching students about control and programming.
- Programming not only enhances logical thinking competency but also gaining access to the real world of IT.
Robotics in the classroom
LEGO Robotics is a body of teaching and learning practice based on LEGO Robotics kits, popular sets of materials that enable individuals without formal training in engineering and computer programming to design, build, and program small-scale, robots.
Students typically design and build a robot in three ways: 1) through imagination and playful exploration, they may create their own robot; 2) they may follow a cookbook-like recipe of directions by someone who has designed and built a robot—and they may modify the directions to create their own versions; or 3) a teacher or a more advanced student may create a “Challenge,” a description of a problem that needs to be solved by the creation of a robot, together with a set of parameters the student must work within to create that solution. All of these approaches have value. There is something to be learned from each of them, particularly if teachers view student growth with robots as having a trajectory and understand that one approach may be of more value at a particular time in students’ development. A full robotics program may offer several projects in each of the three modes for a balanced whole.
In all three modes, the process is likely to include the following elements:
- Envisioning what the robot will be like and what it will do
- An initial “build”
- An initial attempt to write a program
- Early trial runs of the robot to see if it will do what it has been designed for
- Design modifications and/or program modifications
- Feedback, reflection, and finish
To accomplish the above elements, students will put the robot’s body together from construction pieces. This may include programmable “bricks” and/or specialized pieces and connectors, as well as axles, wheels, gears, and other parts. A programmable brick (the robot’s central processor) will be incorporated into the design from the beginning; it often serves as a power source and a processor on which the software program runs and as an armature or support that makes the rest of the robot’s construction possible and functional.
Usually the programmable brick is thoroughly integrated into the structure of the robot.
Shortly after the early form of the robot is constructed, or perhaps in a step by- step, back-and-forth manner, students will go to the computer to write the program needed to run the robot. Once this has been accomplished, students download the program to the brick or central processor and test the robot to see if it works. The rest of the process is one of back-and-forth, trial-and-error testing, followed by modifications of the robot, the program, or both.