We’re halfway through our six-week LEGO Mindstorms workshop with fourth and fifth graders, and we’ve already learned a lot! The first week, we familiarized ourselves with our building materials and we practiced building a simple robot in teams of three.
Exploring the many, many LEGOs in each Mindstorms set.
Two groups, one made up of second- and third-graders, one of fourth- and fifth-graders, just completed two workshops using Lego WeDo Robotics equipment. We spent the first two weeks learning about scientific concepts and practicing using the Lego software. The third and final week, the kids got to build and program whatever they wanted.
In the second and third grade group, some of the pairs built Lego-designed machines, and some designed their own machines. We saw airplanes, battering rams, and (rather deadly) amusement park rides.
This invention plows people over.
Here we have a Lego figurine riding an alligator like a bucking bronco!
We only had a few kids attend the final session of the fourth and fifth grade workshop, so each person got to use a Lego kit without having to share. Everyone came up with their own ideas, including amusement park rides*, cars, and machines that can knock down paper cups.
This amusement park ride works like a combination of a catapult and a bungee jump. Ride at your own risk.
Riders are spun around in both directions on this dangerous ride.
Don’t forget to check our Facebook page for more photos, and videos will be coming soon!
This month we’re diving back into our LEGO WeDo Robotics programming. We’ve got a three-week workshop for kids in grades 2 and 3 on Wednesdays, and another workshop for grades 4 and 5 on Thursdays. Each group had their first sessions last week.
With the 2nd and 3rd graders we talked about the six types of simple machines. We had a basic introduction to how computer programming works, as well as how to use the specific software we’d be utilizing. Then the kids paired up and dove into some projects. The 4th and 5th graders had a very similar set-up, but we started off talking about gears and belt-drive systems.
As the kids built their robots, they were encouraged to look for simple machines, gears, and belt-drive systems within their LEGO creations. The kids did a great job finding those elements within the robots they were building.
We’ve got two more weeks with these groups, then the majority of our LEGO programming will be done for the school year. We’ll have a few LEGO programs scattered throughout our Summer Reading program, so keep an eye out for our calendar if you’re interested!
And don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for more photos of the fun!
Yesterday we had another installment of our STEAM Club series. This time, our theme was the science of slime!
We spent a little time learning about polymers. We talked about their molecular bonds, and we discussed the characteristics of different kinds of polymers. Then we got messy! We made three kinds of slime and discussed the characteristics of all three kinds.
Our first slime was the simplest, made with just water and cornstarch (and food coloring and glitter just for fun!). This one’s often called Oobleck after the famous Dr. Seuss substance.
Next we made slime with flour, dish soap, and water. We decided this one was the slimiest.
Finally, we made slime with marshmallows, corn starch, and coconut oil. This one was the firmest, the stretchiest, and even a little bouncy. This kids also figured out that it’s edible, so some of this experiment got eaten.
Keep an eye out for more STEAM Club programs! These programs are usually for kids in grades 2-5, and we always focus on a different STEAM topic. And don’t forget to visit our Facebook page for more photos of the ooey gooey action!
We built Smart Spinners in LEGO Science Workshop today. We also watched a video of these same models being demonstrated on the International Space Station. Too bad we couldn't make our spinners float around the room too!