Children’s Blog

Coming Up in the New Year

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The end of the year does not mean the end of our LEGO programming.


In January we’ve got a two-week LEGO WeDo workshop for kids in grades 2-3 on Thursdays, January 19 and 26. It’ll be from 4:30-6:00pm. Kids who’ve already attended a LEGO workshop OR kids who’ve never tried it before are all welcome. Registration will be required and will start on December 29.

Keep an eye on our calendar to find out when we’ll be doing more workshops, including when we’ll start working with Mindstorms in addition to WeDo robotics materials.

Monkey See Monkey Drum

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At 2016’s final session of LEGO WeDo Robotics, we made monkeys who played the drums. We learned about levers and cams, then used both to create our robots. The kids programmed their monkeys to play the drums, then experimented with how the placement of the cams affected the rhythms the monkeys drummed.


After completing this basic challenge, the kids experimented even more! Some programmed their monkeys to make sounds, and some kids recorded their own sounds. (This part, admittedly, got a little zany.) Some changed their robots to look a little different, as you’ll see in the pictures and videos below.

Check out the different ways our monkeys moved in these fun videos!


 This is the first iteration, the monkey's drumming the "regular" way.


One student experimented with the motor speed to make her monkey drum reeeeaaally slooooowly.


What if the cups weren't drums, but hands?


Check out this creative head placement!


And some photos of the fun:

Diving in.


This monkey's almost looking like a monkey.


Spinners in Space!

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At Wednesday’s LEGO WeDo Robotics workshop, our fourth- and fifth-graders made tops and machines to make them spin using gears. We began the class by learning a little about how gears work. As the kids were experimenting with their spinners, they explored how the size of the gears in their machines changed the speed of the spinning top.


After we made our spinners and tops, we watched a video of an astronaut working with the very same spinner on the International Space Station. We discussed how our tops are affected by gravity and friction, so they behaved differently here on earth than hers did in microgravity.


You can check out the video yourself on YouTube. It’s pretty long, so we only watched from about 1:45 to 5:00.

 It's a pretty crowded room, but we managed to fit everyone on tables this week.


Getting started building the spinner.


Our first completed spinner and top of the day!


Testing out a programming idea.


Discussing programming ideas with friends.


Spinning the top in the air! (It didn't work the same here as it did in space.)


How long will this top spin?

Family Cooking Club

Everyone had fun with festive goodies!!




Our last LEGO Workshops of 2016

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Yesterday was the first session of our final LEGO WeDo robotics workshop of the year. Fourth- and fifth-graders learned about pulleys and belt-drive systems. They made dancing birds and programmed them to move and tweet. They also experimented with various arrangements and sizes of their belt-drive systems and to see how the speed and direction was affected.


There are still two more weeks left for this group of kids, and then we’ll close for the year. But keep an eye out! We’ll do more workshops in 2017!


And now, of course, some photos!

We decided to try setting up the laptops on the floor instead of on tables. Also, the kids were responsible for powering up their own laptops.


Getting down to business.


Here's one interpretation to program the dancing birds! This student wrote 4 separate lines of code to make the birds do a variety of actions.


This student made a different code to get the birds to dance. It's always amazing how many different ways there are to write code.

Wrapping Up Another Workshop

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Yesterday was the final session of this LEGO workshop for grades 2 & 3. We discussed how levers work to lift heavy weights, and the kids had the opportunity to make a bird machine utilizing levers and a tilt sensor.


The best part of the session, though, was that we left lots of time for kids to experiment on their own. Some decided to try other LEGO-provided ideas, and we had all sorts of great ideas for kid-invented machines.


In 2017 we’ll do more LEGO WeDo workshops for kids in grades 2 & 3, so keep an eye on our calendar! We didn’t have anyone on the waitlist for this session, so kids who’ve already done a workshop in 2016 can sign up to do another one in 2017!


And now, some photos and a couple videos to enjoy!


Just diving in for the day


Getting started


One of our bird creations


This group made their own invention using both the motor and a sensor.


Teamwork! They're developing a "deadly" machine. Our LEGO figurines may be feeling a little nervous.


Close up of the action


Kicking legs kicked a duct tape "soccer ball" and our poor friend Max the LEGO figurine.


After finishing the bird, this group has…