Children’s Blog

Creativity, Ingenuity, and a Little Bit of Microgravity

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We just completed our final session of this month’s LEGO WeDo Robotics workshop with kids in grades 4-5. This was a jam-packed session!

Remember the spinning tops that some of us made last week? This week, we watched a video of an astronaut using the exact same LEGO machine on the International Space Station. We discussed how gravity and friction affected our spinning tops, and we saw how those factors affected it (or didn’t!) in microgravity.

If you’re interested, the video’s available to view on YouTube. It’s a little long, so we only watched the beginning of it together.

Then we talked about levers, how the placement of the fulcrum affects effort and resistance, and how cams work to move things. Kids created a drumming monkey that utilized levers and cams. We also made sure to leave time for the kids to try other projects or their own ideas if they wanted.

Check out some photos!

This monkey is playing the drums! We explored how the placement of the cams and the fulcrum of the levers affected the rhythm of the drumbeat.

It turns out that the monkey head is just decoration and doesn’t make a difference in the machine’s function. When pressed for time, one student came up with a quicker solution.

Watch out! This alligator chomps when it detects motion in its mouth!

One student came up with his own idea for a machine and created his own program to make it move. No instructions needed, just creativity and ingenuity! We even got a video of this one!

Spinning Tops and More!

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In today’s session of Lego WeDo Robotics, our fourth- and fifth-graders learned about types of gears and how to make them move in different directions and at different speeds. We created tops and machines to make the tops spin, which we used to experiment with different kinds of gear movement.


Kids were given some freedom on what projects they wanted to work on. Most kids had started machines at the first session that they finished before they moved on to the project I had originally planned for today. Other kids started with the spinning top, then moved on to another machine of their choosing. We got to see a lot of different kinds of machines today!

Check out some more photos below!

One additional project was a sailboat that was programmed to rock when a key was pressed on the computer.


Another student was working on a mechanical pair of legs that could kick a soccer ball.


Here's a close-up of the finished product! It did great kicking our "soccer ball" and even kicked the Lego figurine!

Dancing Birds

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Yesterday we held our first session of our three-week WeDo Robotics series for fourth and fifth graders. We had a small group, but everyone was very engaged and curious! We learned about pulleys, belt drive systems, and the transfer of electrical and mechanical energy. We built dancing birds with LEGOs and the kids figured out how to alter the speed and direction they spun both by changing their mechanics and changing their computer programs.


We’ve still got some space in this workshop, so if you’ve got a fourth or fifth grade student who’s interested, just let us know. You can call or stop in, or you can register through our online calendar.

And now, enjoy a few photos of the fun!


 Just getting started...


Putting the finishing touches on the birds during the LEGO building portion of the program


Programming the birds!

First WeDo Workshops Were a Success!

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Yesterday we had our final session of our first three-week LEGO series. Second and third graders learned about levers, and used them to build a bird whose wings flapped when you pressed down on its tail. The kids then programmed their birds to tweet or make other sounds when they moved in various ways.

There was also time for kids to experiment and try some things out on their own. Some pairs decided to build airplanes, boats, and giants who stood up with the help of a crane. Check out this video of one of the cranes. The giant was lifted a little high, but the team improved their computer program after I snapped the video.

Do you have a second or third grader who’s interested in participating? We’ll be doing this workshop again in November. Registration will begin on Wednesday, October 12 and sessions will take place Wednesdays, November 2, 9, and 16 from 3:30 to 5:00pm.

Watch Out for Those Alligators!

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At our second session of Lego WeDo Robotics, our second- and third-graders built alligators. They then programmed the alligators to open and close their mouths, first on key command, then using a motion sensor. When they were finished, their alligators could chomp down on anything that got too close to their mouths. Watch out!

To create this machine, we learned about and then utillized gears, pulleys, and belt drive systems. The kids did a great job thinking about how to create a computer program to control their alligators. Every team wrote a different code, and some even added in extra features like sounds.

The kids were moving along quicklys, so we had enough time to let them come up with their own ideas for what else to do with their gators. Then some teams moved on to other machines and creations.

Make sure to check out even more photos on our Facebook page!

Who knows was next week will hold!

Special note: No animals were harmed during the making of this Lego workshop!

Our First LEGO WeDo Robotics Program was Great!

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Yesterday we held the first session of our three-week LEGO WeDo Robotics workshop for kids in grades 2-3. We did a quick ice-breaker to get to know each other, then we dove right in.


With this age group we’ll be focusing on simple machines. At yesterday’s session we learned about gears. We built a lion out of LEGOS with some motorized gears inside. Then we plugged them into our computers and learned some basic programming language to make the lion sit up, roar, and lay back down at just the press of a button! We discussed how the computer program the kids wrote controlled the motor, how the motor moved the gears, and how the gears worked to make the lion’s legs move.


All of the participants did an excellent job working with their partner, figuring out how to build the machine, and experimenting with the computer program until they got it. Everyone’s computer programs were slightly different from each other, so we learned that there are multiple ways to solve the same problem!


This workshop will run for two more weeks, then we’ll do a three-week workshop for kids in grades 4-5. If you wanted to sign up for this workshop but didn’t make it before it filled up, never fear! We’ll be doing both workshops again before the year is out!

Check out our Facebook post to enjoy some photos of the fun getting started! Confession: Once the kids really got into the building and programming, I forgot to take any photos. Hopefully I’ll get more next week.