It’s a new year in so many ways. New green grass and trees that beginning to bud and turn green are a definite welcome sight after a long winter in Indiana. Several of our early season flowers are just about to bloom. Driving down the road we see several farms with cows, horses, goats, sheep, etc. that are having babies born. We can also spot the wild Canadian goose sitting on nests near water sources with her mate near by. It won’t be long until we see baby geese, baby ducks, and perhaps even baby deer as we drive along. Everything in nature seems new now that winter has passed.
We had a fun time at our March Lego and Robotics Academy meeting. We meet together on the third Tuesday of the month for exciting learning adventures furthering Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM Initiative) with kids.
It was a perfect and beautiful spring day. We opened the meeting with the Pledge Of Allegiance, and the 4 H Pledge. Then we had a small business meeting and discussed the upcoming 4H activities and opportunities.
Presentation / Demonstration Activity:
Next, the kids got busy building with robotics. They built a robotic GIANT. The GIANT is built with Legos from a Lego WeDo kit, and a laptop computer. He has a head, body, arms, and moveable jointed legs. He also has a string attached at his head and this operates him sort of like a marionette puppet. The kids used symmetry, color design, alternative use, hinging, sideways building, and locking technique in building the Lego Giant. These are all skills they learned using the Lego MBA (levels 1 and 2) curriculum.
The kids built a base of operations. They started off with a base plate. To that they added a hub that connects to the computer. The hub recieves power and information. The hub also sends information back to the computer. Next they added a motor, axels, gears, and a rope and pulley system. They also added a motion sensor to the hub.
This is such a neat project to build with kids. They can see how everything works together and be 100% hands on!
Next they built a lever system (operates like a crane) that is lifted by a rotating gear system at the base that is attached to the pulley system which is powered by the motor. The motor is powered by electricity from the computer. The lever will raise and lower the GIANT by the string that is attached to the GIANT’S head.
The kids also create a computer program for the system to operate. By moving around different instructions on the computer program, they can time the motor, the pauses, the sounds, and the sensor.
The GIANT senses a boy (MAX Lego minifigure) walking up to it. The Giant wakes up, stands up, then when there is no more movement, he slumps back down and goes back to sleep. He snores while sleeping.
What is actually happening is the computer is playing the sound of someone sleeping, then the motion sensor senses movement of the minifigure approaching. It sends a signal to the computer which signals the motor to come on and sends power to the motor. The motor comes on and turns the axle, gears, and pulley system. This raises the lever (crane) which raises the GIANT. The computer program makes sounds like someone has just woken up from sleep, then after a brief pause the lever lowers back down, and the GIANT bends down as if going back to sleep. The computer then plays sounds of someone sleeping again. The kids can program the process to happen once, or repeat automatically if they wish.
Here is a short video of the LEGO GIANT.
Then we divided into two teams for a building challenge with NANOBOTS.
Each team has their own box of Legos, a large base plate, a toilet paper tube, a paper towel tube, a piece of track, and three nanobots. Nanobots are micro robotic bug shaped creatures. They actually move along just like insects. They vibrate on a dozen rubber legs, and change direction when they bump into an obstacle. The are powered by a small battery. I recently saw how to make your own nanobots using a vibrating toothbrush and I hope to do this experiment with the kids soon.
The building challenge was to build a maze for the nanobots to race through and include a tunnel, and either a bridge or a ramp. Each team also needs to create an entrance and an exit opening on their maze. They were free to be as creative, complicated, or simple as they wanted it to be as long as it had those basic elements included.
Next time we build a nanobot maze, I would like to add in additional criteria to increase the challenge.
Requirements that could be really educational might include: at least 20 corners, but no more than 60; it must include two ramps, two tunnels; it must include three levels for the nanobot to race on. We could draw our designs on paper first, make hypothesis about the race, and then make modifications as needed. We could also add architecture and design ideas such as symmetry, color (each level must be shades of blue and gray, or yellow and green, or orange and red, etc); dimensional lines, circles, windows, etc. Perhaps we can add in a small structure or a pivoting gate too. I would also like to add a stop watch and time the bugs as they pass key points in the maze. The kids can then add in items to make them travel faster or slower and graph their findings. There are so many wonderful learning opportunities with a project like this.
Here is a video of their race!
Show and Tell
Show and Tell is always so much fun. The kids can bring any thing they are interested in. We had two special guests join in on the fun learning adventures with us today. My son and daughter (the two shorter (and younger) ones in the pictures).
This is a learning robot called Alphie. He speaks to the child and asks questions that pertain to a learning card and computer chip. There are 8 possible answers to select from. The answers are represented by a picture with a corresponding button. The chip and cards can be changed out for a different set or subject. He has over 200 various cards with his Alphie on subjects such as numbers, letters, shapes, foods, and more.
This is a robotic car that does tricks and has special light effects. The wheels spin sideways 360 degrees. The whole car can do wheelies, flips, ride on two wheels, go up and down ramps and is very cool to watch in a dimly lit or dark room. We have a blast playing with these at home. The kids have a red one and a blue one and brought both to share during Show and Tell today.
My 12 year old son brought an ancient water dinosaur he created. It is hard to see here as he is holding it while talking about it. It looks like a type of sea dragon. He also demonstrated the blue robotic trick car.
My 10 year old son brought his remote controlled vehicle to share. He is very proud of it as it goes extremely fast.
This 13 year old young man brought his new Lego Police Vehicle. He is very proud that he built this from a kit he received for his birthday last week. He did a great job building it.
My 8 year old brought his remote controlled off road vehicle. He loves racing his 10 year old brother’s car to see who’s vehicle is the fastest.
All of the kids had a great time playing with the items they brought for Show and Tell. Check out this video and watch some of the action!
Fellowship and Refreshments
I love fellowshipping together! Our group usually brings lots of different foods to share together. We meet from 9am to 11:30 am and the kids are really hungry by this time of day. So we make it easy for families to grab some lunch before they head out to accomplish the rest of the their day.
For refreshments we had sandwiches (meat and cheese on farmer bread), sliced golden delicious apples, bbq chips, granola bars, cowboy cookies (homemade organic oatmeal chocolate chip cookies), crackers, and fruit juice drinks.
I have enjoyed getting to know all of the families that have been a part of this club. I am also glad this club has been something my whole family can do together with other families.
So many community and educational activities are not open to various ages being together. This makes it challenging for my family to find and include outside activities in our schedule. But this club is open to whole families, no one is left out. Everyone is welcome.
It is really important in my homeschooling approach / philosophy that my family can learn and grow together in whatever activities we do. We seldom do activities where our whole family isn’t able to stay together. Whatever we are learning and doing, we are learning it and experiencing it together. Here is a picture of all 6 of my kids eating lunch together.
After our time of fellowship, my kids helped me clean up, pack up, put away tables and chairs, sweep, and load the vehicle.
But that is only half the story, because they also help me load the van in the morning, set up table and chairs when we arrive, and all of our activities and food at the building before any ot
her families arrive for the meeting too. They have learned so much about being responsible and about servant leadership through hosting these meetings.
For almost two years hosting this club (it will be two years in June), and three years hosting learning programs in the local parks, instead of doing their own thing, my family has set their own desires aside and have been very helpful to make these meetings a success. Without complaint, whether it is hot or cold, if they are hungry or not, full of energy or tired, just want to take the day off and play, or have other projects they would like to do, they consistently come and serve other families in our local community. They are growing and becoming responsible people.
I have enjoyed watching them mature through this experience.
I am really proud of them!
Thank you kids for making this a great family activity we can do together.
Our January 4H club meeting was about “How To Give A Presentation”.
4H Presentation time is upon us and it is time for the kids to research a topic and put a presentation together. In February they will practice their speeches and use of props during training sessions at the county extension office. Then they will present their presentation in front of a panel of judges in April. If they do well there, they will progress on to a district level, and if they do well again, they will progress forward on to a state competition level.
The club President, age 12, opened the meeting by hitting the gavel and saying the meeting is now called to order. He called on a club member to lead the club in the Pledge of Allegiance. Then he called on another member to lead the club in the 4H pledge.
Next he called on the Vise President, age 12, to introduce visitors. We had three visitors: 2 agents from the Henderson County Extension Office and a college student. Next he called on the club Secretary / Treasurer, age 10, to give a summary report of the club happenings including the last meeting and the plan for today.
Finally he called on the club Representative to give a summary of things going on and opportunities in the larger county 4H program, and the agent from the extension office filled in and gave us lots of great information about upcoming classes, camps, and opportunities for fun learning adventures.
Presentation / Demonstration
Our guest speaker today was Denise Sherill, 4H Extension Agent for Henderson County, North Carolina. She presented a power point training on “How To Give A 4H Presentation”. She also brought with her a student from Blue Ridge Community College who is learning to teach and judge public speaking and presentations.
You can find out more about 4H presentations at the link here
Then one of our club members who has experience with presentations and has been in 4H for several years, gave us a presentation on the game of CHESS. He brought several props with him for his demonstration. He explained what each piece in the game did and why it was important. He had made a poster board to give us a printed visual of the main points of his speech. This is a presentation he has given before in front of 4H judges and has done very well at competitions.
While the presentations were going on, another Extension Agent, Sue, was in another part of the room notarizing paperwork for families. Each year families fill out enrollment forms for their children to participate in 4H. Sue is a notary and it was such a blessing to have her come to the meeting and help the parents get their paper work finished, notarized, and turned in.
During the meeting, kids who are not members of the club do other quiet activities. I am so thankful for help from teens and parents who come and assist the preschoolers, toddlers, and babies during the meeting.
SHOW AND TELL
Then we had Show and Tell and each club member was able to give a short speech about what they brought, how they created it, special techniques they used in building it, etc. This part of our meeting is so important for the kids to gain confidence in public speaking skills. They become confident at clearly speaking their ideas to an audience through practice during our time of Show and Tell.
They can bring a variety of things they are interested in. They often bring projects they have created using Lego MBA curriculum and building kits. The club kids were very creative in their projects today.
Some used the Lego MBA kits to create fun futuristic space ships, robots, rovers, and military tanks.
Others brought items made from Lego City kits, and Lego Creator kits, Kre-O kits, and a Robotic T-Rex Wooden Dinosaur.
We always learn something new during show and tell. This dinosaur was fascinating. There is no glue holding it together. It is completely done with locking wooden puzzle like pieces. It is robotic and its jaw and legs move. It is sound activated. If you clap your hands or make a noise, it comes to life, and walks and chomps its jaws.
The kids have a great time sharing their creations. They are learning so much about different building techniques.
Even when they are not using Lego MBA kits to build with, they are able to name what techniques they used to build with, because of the great learning they did with the Lego MBA curriculum. It is a wonderful curriculum to learn with.
One club kid gave us a demonstration of speaking with American Sign Language (ASL). He is taking a course in this and is doing very well. He signed the word “Lego” for us, and a few more words the kids asked him how to sign, such as “hello”. He also told us that he took a field trip and was required to be silent and only speak with sign language for the whole trip. His group went to a Mexican resturant and ordered food in sign language and it was a lot of fun. We were all amazed at his ability to speak with signing.
Fellowship and Refreshments
We only had 7 club kids today (out of 20), 5 non-club kids, 4 parents, and 3 special guests. Even though many of our regular members were not able to join us, and we were a small group, it was still a special time of fellowship for each of us. The 4H Extension Agent said it was a great club meeting today and she enjoyed sharing and learning with all of these great kids.
During our fellowship time, the kids played with their creations and some played a game of chess.
They talked and laughed and shared stories of what has been going on since they last seen each other.
It was raining outside and we were not able to go outside to play, so they enjoyed each others company inside.
I am very grateful for the help of other parents during the club meetings. In addition to helping in serving foods, they also help with set up, clean up, and help with the toddlers and preschoolers. Their help makes it possible for me to organize, facilitate, teach, and take lots of pictures. I am so thankful we have such a special group of families in our club.
I love fellowship time, because we have time to really talk freely and get to know each other better. It really serves to build stronger bonds between the kids and families who come.
I brought a lunch of hot Sloppy Joe sandwiches, pretzels, fruit juice pouches, and birthday cupcakes (it is my son’s 8th birthday). Other parents brought chocolate chip cookies, V8 vegetable-fruit juice blend, and candy canes to share.
I stayed up late the night before and made the sandwiches with 5lbs of lean ground meat from a cow we had butchered. I put the meet in a crock pot on low setting and stirred in a cooked sauce made with tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and seasoning. The house smelled so good in the morning I wanted to eat some for breakfast, but I didn’t. My husband drove all the way from North Carolina to Ohio a few months ago to pick up this pasture raised beef from a friend of ours. We bought a half of a cow from him and had it butchered and frozen. He packed the frozen packages in dry ice and brought it home and put it in the freezer ready to use. I am so grateful for this wonderful meat to share with my family and friends. These sandwiches were so flavorful. I think they were the best Sloppy Joes I have ever made.
I forgot the tray of raw carrots and broccoli and the vegetable dip at home, as I was too tired from staying up late to remember the vegetable tray when loading everything into the van to bring for the meeting today. I felt bad that I had forgot, as it was a key part of the meal. We have some parents who are on special diets and fruits and vegetables would have been the best option for their needs today.
I have started a fitness focus myself and fruits and vegetables are a key ingredient on my family fitness plan. I can’t believe I forgot this important item for the menu. But alas, I am not super woman and I make mistakes. I have six kids and I am a wife and mommy first, before everything else. Somedays I feel like I am running on little energy, little sleep, and little brain cells. I’ve got to give myself a break sometimes and just let things go. So today we had a meal with no fruits and veggies. Despite our lack of fresh produce, and my forgetfulness, we still shared a great meal and time of fellowshipping together!
We are off to a great start in Lego and Robotics Academy this year!
Our June meeting in the Lego and Robotics Academy was all about Downhill Racing. We used the force of gravity to energize custom built Lego race cars. When the starting gate was opened, we raced downhill to victory!
This was a special meeting this month, because we celebrated our 1 year anniversary of our club. Not all of our club members could be with us on this day, as many are away on summer vacation or have a scheduling conflict. But we still had a good turnout for our celebration.
My son’s 11th birthday was the beginning of something amazing last year! About two months before his birthday, he began asking me to buy him the Lego MBA for his birthday. When I researched this learning program, I fell in love with the genius of teaching kids with Legos! It opened my eyes that Legos were far more than just a toy to build with. Legos and the Lego MBA program are wonderful teaching tool for kids to learn with.
As my son began building with it, I realized all three of my older children would enjoy learning with it too. It is awesome! We ordered an additional Lego MBA program for our 9 year old son and promised the next son that we would get it for his 7th birthday in a few more months. It is a $99 investment to buy levels 1 and 2 (level three is available also) and when buying for several children it feels like a huge investment. The second son enjoyed it as much as his older brother. They thought their friends would enjoy it too, so I began telling other homeschool families in our local community about the Lego MBA learning kits. From there I was inspired to start a club for kids who loved learning with Legos and Robots.
Per special request (he can’t resist my special requests), and in honor of this 1 year achievement, my husband built a wonderful downhill race track. It is 16 feet long. He worked many longs hours building it and it turned out awesome!
He had asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day, and my response was “a race track and party for our club”. Hum….strange request for Mother’s Day I know, but… I just love my kids so much that I wanted something super duper special to share with them.
My husband was a gem! He got to work on the track, (right after a couple of nights and a weekend cleaning up the garage so he had a place to work…ahem…).
Then he had all three of our older boys (ages 7, 9, and 11) help him build it. They worked on it a few nights after he got home from work, and a few weekends and finished it just in time to have a great party with it. It is awesome!
It can race three cars at once. The race track has a special starting gate and a finish line. The starting gate is a combination of dow rods, and springs, and a lever. It has slots that hold three cars and allows them to all start at the same time when the lever is pushed down. I am so proud of the craftsmanship and details he put into this project.
Show and Tell
Show and Tell was all about custom Lego race cars. Each kid shared about the race car they created for the race today. For the past year, all these great kids have been working their way through Level 1 (kits 1,2,3) and Level 2 (kits 4, 5, 6) of the Lego MBA program. So we decided to use the building techniques we have learned and the project ideas in kit 6, “race cars”, as our focus for our celebration.
We did the Show and Tell portion of our meeting at the beginning today, rather than at the end like we usually do, because we wanted to see all these great race car creations, before they raced down hill and possibly crashed into pieces! Oh yea of little faith!
The kids were able to build any Lego race car they wanted. They could use Lego MBA or any Legos they choose. They were welcome to modify other race car kits, or come up with something completely original.
However, they were encouraged to use the building techniques they had learned through out the Lego MBA program and especially the techniques in kit 6 that focused specifically on race cars. They were also asked to stay within a 3 inch to 3 1/2 inch width so their car could easily roll down the race track lanes.
After seeing all these cars, and hearing all the special features each kid put into their creations, this was sure to be a challenging race today!
The Pass For The Race Car Drivers
Everyone needs a pass to get into the races, right? And drivers need their own special pass! These passes pictured above are Lego Race VIP passes for the kids to wear for our downhill race. One of the moms in our club designed the pass on her computer and emailed it to me. I had the passes printed at Staples office supply store. I picked them up, and my kids helped me cut each one out. The other mom purchased the lanyard straps with a clip at the dollar store, and the badge pockets at Walmart. And wallah, a terrific and wearable VIP pass! How neat is that? These are so cool. The parents filled them out at the party. There is a place for each child’s name, age, and the information about today’s celebration. The kids wore them for the race and through out the party, and were able to take them home as a keepsake.
After Show And Tell, the kids came to the race track to do some practice runs with their cars. This was a good opportunity for the kids to see if their cars needed modifications before the actual race.
It also gave them a chance to see if they built their cars sturdy enough and with the right techniques so they didn’t all apart going down the track. Lego MBA taught the kids several design techniques to accomplish these goals.
These practice runs also gave the adults a chance to see who’s cars were built similar in weight and abilities. When it came time for the actual race, we were able to pair up race cars with similar race times.
Then they raced three times down the track, each time eliminating the slower car, until eventually we had three winners. This was really exciting.
They narrowed the finalists down to the three fastest cars for a final race against each other. First place in on the right, second place in the middle, and third place is on the left in the photo above. It maybe hard to see, but two of the three final cars that won, were built from the Lego MBA kit 6. All three winning cars were made from the kids own designs or modifications to designs they read about in kit 6. It was really important to build their cars using these techniques so they had proper wheel clearance, were proportionately balanced, and didn’t fall apart on the race track. It is so cool how much these kids have learned this past year!
Fellowship and Refreshments
On the menu is PIZZA! We had three kinds (pepperoni, hamburger, and cheese) to choose from. We also had raw vegetables (carrots, celery, peppers, cauliflower) and dip, cheese, cheese log, several kinds of crackers, cookies, brownies, m&m’s, marshmallow pops, chocolate donut “tires”, and a Lego cake. We had several kinds of fruit juice and bottled water for drinks.
The food and fellowship is a definately highlight to our day. We love eating and sharing this time together.
Decorations & Setup
The decorations for our party were a combination of items I found at different stores ( Walmart, Dollar Tree, Mighty Dollar, and online at Oriental Trading and Amazon). I found inflatable tires, checkered flags, oil cans, gas cans, race cars, balloons (black, white, and red), gloves, tire gages, oil rags, oil pans, checkered flag banners for the race track and ceiling, tons of prizes and gifts, and so many fun decorations to brighten up our party.
I used several colors and checkered patterns including: bold red, bold blue, bold yellow, black, white, red and white checks, and black and white checks color combinations for the decorations and table ware. We hung a checkered flag banner from the ceiling tiles and along the race track too.
I set up four stations, made Lego racing theme signs for each station, and assigned a parent to help out at each station. The stations were: Pit Stop: Fuel; Pit Stop: Oil; Hall Of Fame; and the Winners Circle.
Pit Stop: Fuel (food),
Besides food, this table was decorated with gas cans, gas funnels, and race cars.
Pit Stop: Oil (drinks),
Besides the drinks, this table was decorated with race cars, oil cans, oil funnels, oil filters, and oil pans. We used oil pans filled with ice to keep the drinks cold.
Hall Of Fame (desert tables decorated with pictures of the club’s accomplishments).
Well, my poster was missing. I had it all planned out for the Hall Of Fame, and had ordered a collage poster of activities we had done during the year. This poster picture was “in route” for too long, and finally got delivered the same day, by the Fed Ex man, but it was when I got home from the party that afternoon. Arrrrrrggggggh!
Besides a whole bunch of yummy deserts, this table quickly became two tables and they were decorated with red and white checkered plates and napkins, black/red/white balloons, and so much yummy goodness!
The pictures below show off three of the fun treats we enjoyed that had a “race theme” or a “Lego theme”: chocolate donuts that looked like tires, a Lego cake, and Lego minifigure head pops.
These chocolate donuts were a gift to our club from manager Steve at the local Dunkin Donuts. He is a great supporter of kids learning about engineering. His son is graduating from highschool, and is a young engineer very interested in Legos and robotics and engineering. This summer he is on an engineering summer program. Though he is not in our club and is ready to go on to college, he has done a lot of learning adventures like ours in the past. When Steve heard about our club and our celebration party, he graciously offered to make “tire” donuts for us and show his support of our program. Thank you Steve!
The mom who created the VIP passes also made a Lego cake. This is so cute and fun to eat.
Another mom made these fun marshmallow Lego Minifigure Head Pops. These are made by skewering marshmallows and dipping the marshmallows into white chocolate tinted with yellow food coloring. Then piping on the face. She also made some heads without the skewer and used the yellow colored “dip” as a hat. So CUTE!
Winner’s Circle (prizes, trophies, goodie bags).
This table was loaded with prizes! See the pictures below in PRIZES to see a close up of some of the prizes we gave away……..
We had so many great prizes at our party today. We had prizes for everyone, plus special prizes for the winners of our down hill race.
Every child took home prizes.
Some of the prizes included:
3D race car puzzles (these become a race car that has rolling wheels).
racing puzzles (24 piece, 48 piece, and 100 piece puzzles)
racing board games
racing card games
pull back race cars
tires that are eraser / pencil sharpeners (see picture of tires on table above)
race car pencil case kits with matching ruler, eraser, pencil, and sharpener
The three winners with the three fastest cars got the first pick of prizes from the list above, plus they each took home a trophy to commemorate the day. Then the rest of the kids got to pick out a prize of their choice to take home. Everyone is a winner!
Finally, each kid received a wonderful racing theme goodie bag to take home. Inside each bag was three kinds of candy, pencils, tire eraser sharpeners, bubbles, tire disk flingers, 3D eraser puzzle cars, and a sheet of race car stickers.
Check out this video of the down hill Lego race:
I will always remember the fun we had today, and the fun we have had the whole year through. My kids have sure enjoyed learning and building with Legos, robots, science and engineering, making new friends, and learning about each of the families who join us each month in these adventures.
All these great kids have been a special highlight in my life this past year. Each and everyone of them is special. I am sure they will go on to reach their full potential in their bright futures. They are all blessed!
This post will be linked up with:
No Time For Flash Cards
Feasting In Fellowship
What a fun group we had today. It was “hands on learning” and FUN all the way! It is the week of Thanksgiving. We had a small group of kids today as some families are away traveling for the holiday, and some families are dealing with illnesses too. Though we were few in number, we were still able to have a fun time together and a great learning adventure. My family had a terrific time at the club today.
The story below is about:
Building Challenge: Dilemma and Building Challenge Solution
The kids are learning to estimate mass and volume with Legos.
Show and Tell
Fellowship and Refreshments
The kids opened the meeting with saying the 4H pledge and the Pledge of Allegiance to the USA. Two of the club boys led the group in saying the pledges. Then we shared a few announcements about current goings on and upcoming events in 4 H.
The kids got right down to the business of learning about robots. We are having lots of fun learning about SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, and MATHEMATICS and furthering the STEM initiative.
For our presentation today, I brought a couple of robots that have different functional abilities. The kids learned to operate the doodle robot, and build and operate the robot duck. The doodle robot uses a method of vibration to accomplish it’s drawing tasks, and the robot duck uses a method of rotation to waddle and move forward.
We talked about some robot vocabulary words, and different areas of our lives where robots are used to make life better for humans. Some examples are replacing humans in hazardous work environments or rescue operations. There were lots of examples shared and the kids are full of ideas and conversations about the world of robotics.
Build A Robot
This was a great learning adventure for these budding engineers. All of the needed robotic supplies come with these building kits. We provided two AA batteries, and a phillips screw driver to complete the project. Oh yeah…..and some very enthusiastic boys.
Step 1. Assemble the battery holder to the base plate. Thread the red and black wires through the holes in the base plate. Screw the base plate and battery case together with screws.
Step 2. (no picture) Send the red and black wires of the batter holder through the metal eyes of the base.
Step 3. Send the red and black wires of the motor through the metal eyes with the other wires and place a cap in the holes. The metal of the wires should touch the metal of the eyes.
Step 4. Attach the gear, axel, and knees to the base. Line up the gear with the spiral screw shape that extends from the motor. The axel will rest on the notched holder above the motor.
Step 5. Put the legs through the knees. Add the feet to the legs.
Step 6. Add the motor cover and screw the cover to the base plate with the short screws.
Step 7. Thread the long screw through the base. Secure the screw with a nut. Cover the part of the screw that protrudes out past the base plate with a plastic screw cover.
Step 8. Place the batteries into the holder. Line up the batteries opposite to each other, positive charge down for one battery, and negative charge down for the other battery.
Step 9. Turn on the robot.
The robot duck is supposed to waddle across the floor like a duck. We were able to get it to waddle in the air, but everytime we sat it down on a flat surface it did not want to waddle. So we need to trouble shoot and figure out why. But the kids had a lot of fun building it and it did work as long was we held it and didn’t set it down. I try to teach the kids that engineering and science is full of trial and error and making modifications along the way. This was a good opportunity to put this into practice. We will make some modifications and hopefully get the robot waddling across the floor soon.
Check out the video we made of the club kids building ROBOT DUCK . The kids named it “Duckster”.
Video of how to build the robot duck kit.
After a fun time of learning with robots, we “switched gears” for a building challenge. I love to present a life dilemma to the kids and challenge them to come up with a solution. This helps the kids relate the building challenge to real life. It gives the kids opportunity to problem solve, engineer, design, make modifications, and work as a team.
Today, we discussed a group of people who are near and dear to my heart, the Amish. We talked a little bit about their culture. The kids learned that the Amish do not use electricity to turn on lights, or to power things in their homes, and they do not drive automobiles. The Amish use gas lamps, oil lamps, and flash lights for light. They drive a horse and buggy for transportation. They usually only travel short distances in their horse and buggy, for example to the local farmers market, local shops, and to visit family and friends who live within a few miles of each other. It would take a long time to go most places beyond a short distance, so they have to hire others (they call anyone not Amish, “English”), to take them to town, and take their products to market. Most Amish people farm the land, but some work in Amish owned factories, and shops.
Almost all Amish people raise a garden, raise animals (for transportation, meat, eggs, and/or milk), and some grow crops, depending on where in the country they live. Some crops they might grow include orchards, strawberries, potatoes, cabbage, watermelon, corn, hay, wheat, tobacco, and so on. Most Amish farms are between 20 to 200 acres, and the average farm is about 80-100 acres. It is very hard to make a living farming less than 100 acres. Farmers must use intensive farming practices, and very good marketing of their products, to earn enough to pay for the farm and the needs of their family.
Here is one example of products an Amish farmer might raise, harvest, manufacture, and sell through out the year to earn money farming his 100 acres of land:
January-March (fire wood, work in an Amish factory, harvest maple syrup, build sheds),
April-May (lettuce, strawberries, plant gardens, firewood, prepare fields),
June (plant the fields, harvest the first crop of hay, sell calves that were born in Jan. or last fall, sell early garden produce crops),
July (raspberries, summer squash, cucumbers, green beans, work the crops in fields and remove weeds, peaches),
August (harvest second cutting of hay, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, summer squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, apples),
September (corn, melons, apples, )
October (harvest pumpkins, winter squash, third cutting of hay (possible fourth cutting if growing conditions were right), )
November (continue final harvest of winter produce, butcher animals, plant winter rye or wheat in fields).
In addition to all of this, he would be feeding his animals twice daily (365 x 2 = 730 times) all year long. He might milk 40 head of dairy cattle every morning and night. He might raise some additional cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys for meat and eggs. He might help his wife with a house garden too. He might have 20 acres of hay, 20 acres of pasture, 10 acres of house/ buildings/fruit trees/ and the garden, and 50 acres of crops of produce. If he has more acres, then he can produce more products to sell. This is just one scenario, other Amish farmers may raise other animals like dogs for sale, or some might work in a woodworking shop, or other venue.
We discussed that currently it is the fall season, and this is harvest season for most farmers. One produce commodity some Amish grow large quantities of in the fall is pumpkins. A single Amish farmer might put 40 acres or more of his farm into pumpkin patches. He will farm all of this by hand and with the help of his horses. He may hire his brother, or other young Amish laborers to help him bring in the harvest. They will harvest the pumpkins when they are ripe in the fields and place them on horse drawn wagons and take them to the barn or unloading area. They may sell some of the pumpkins to customers who come to the farm, and to a local farmers market.
But the majority of the pumpkin crop will be sold to a large distribution center that serves specific stores (like a Walmart distribution center), a produce auction (where lots of stores can buy produce from), or to a factory. Large factories or distributors might buy a large quantity of pumpkins from a single farmer, or from a community of Amish farmers. Some Amish farmers form farming co-ops when they are working together to send a large quantity of a product to market that was produced by several farms.
For our “Dilemma”, we pretended that a factory, aka Pumpkin Canning Factory INC., placed an order for 25 tons of pumpkins from this Amish community co-op. They also offered the farmers a bonus if they could produce an extra 5 tons and get it to the factory on time. The co-op needs to hire an “English” (non-Amish because the Amish won’t get driver’s licenses) driver to transport the pumpkins from the unloading area on the farm to the factory before Thanksgiving, so the factory could to turn them into canned pumpkin in time for the holidays.
The Building Challenge:
The kids were divided into two teams. Each orange colored pompom and cube in our Amish display represented a ton of pumpkin. The kids need to build a vehicle to haul at least 25 to 30 of these “pumpkins”. They will have to estimate the mass (of the pumpkins), and volume (the volume capacity they need to hold) as they build their transport vehicles to complete this task.
They were given instructions to spend 3 minutes discussing amongst their team members their ideas for a transport vehicle. Then they were given paper and a pencil. They spent 5 minutes drawing their team’s ideas on paper.
Next, the teams were given a box of Lego pieces to build with, and a cookie sheet to set out their projects on. I call these boxes my “Building Challenge Kits”.
I have two boxes that I put together in clear storage containers that are exactly the same. They hold a lot of Legos with a lot of building potential! Each box contains about 12 Lego Creator “3 in 1” projects, a few Lego City projects, and several mini figures. We can build countless building challenges with these. Having two boxes work out great for setting up two teams with building challenges.
Initially, both teams were told they had to build their project in fifteen minutes. But both teams needed a little more time and were given an extra five minutes to finish. Then they had to carry their finished project to the display table and check to see if it could hold 25 tons of pumpkins.
Team One’s Solution is a modified “sporty” semi truck and a deep wagon style trailer. They said it could haul a lot of pumpkins in a short amount of time.
Team Two’s Solution is a truck with a detachable wagon that has additional modules to lengthen the design, and hold a bigger load, depending on the load it needs to carry. They also designed a lid type cover for the wagon, depending on if they needed to keep the products it hauls dry and out of the rain.
Now for the moment of truth! Which team’s solution to the challenge can haul 25 tons or more?
Team One was able to load the 25 tons, plus the additional 5 tons.
Team Two was able to load 22 tons in the wagon they had. They could hold all 30 tons with the additional extension they had built for the wagon, but for some reason, they did not think to install the extension for the competition. Their extension was laying on the tray, and they used it to demonstrate the potential of their vehicle. But when loading up, they neglected to instal it. Team One was the winner of today’s building challenge.
What Lego MBA techniques did you use to build your mode of transportation?
Why is it important to make sure none of the load of produce is lost to damage?
How would you talk to an Amish person about the service you have to offer to haul their load of produce?
What would you do if the farmer wanted to ride along with you for the delivery so they could collect their pay before they could pay you for your services?
If the canning factory was 750 miles from the farming community, and you charge .95 cents per mile from the time you pick up the load, until you make the delivery, how much money will you earn for this job?
If your vehicle is completely loaded by 9am and you travel an average speed of 50 miles per hour, approximately what time will you arrive at your destination?
Show and Tell
Show and Tell time at our meetings is always a fun time of sharing creativity and interests of each child. We had a smaller group today and it felt like it went by so fast compared to our larger meetings. Each child takes about 3 to 5 minutes to tell us about what they brought to share. It is a good opportunity for them to practice communication skills.
Fellowship and Refreshments
Well, after all of this learning fun, these kids are famished! Thankfully, we have a great group of parents who bring a variety of foods to enjoy during our fellowship and refreshment time. Many of the parents help watch the younger children (babies, toddlers, and preschoolers), help out as the club kids build projects, help me set up for the programs, and clean up after the meetings. Everyone working together makes it a success!
I am really grateful for the families who share their lives with my family through this gathering.
I enjoy teaching this learning adventure, and my children are better for it and love the experience.
We had another fantastic learning adventure with the Lego and Robotics Academy 4H Club. Today we learned about flight using Lego We Do Airplane, Model Planes, and Paper Airplanes.
Our club gets together once a month to learn about technology, science, public speaking, citizenship, fellowship, and more. These are all local homeschool families and many know each other in various other activities too.
We opened the meeting with the 4H pledge and the Pledge of Allegiance and a short business meeting to introduce visitors and discuss 4H activities. We had 15 club kids, 11 parents, and 7 siblings (babies and toddlers) attend today.
We also recognized two fantastic club kids who received a Bronze and a Silver Medal for their 4H Project Records they did on their projects with Legos. Great Job Guys!
Presentation / Demonstration
For today’s program, I set up the Lego We Do kit, a laptop computer, and an airplane and helicopter display at one end of the tables. The kids all sat around the tables facing the computer. Parents sat behind the kids near the tables and along the wall. This is such a great set up and can accommodate quite a few kids on our small budget ( we only have one Lego We Do building kit and a borrowed computer). Oh I dream of being able to provide several kits, and several computers too, for this great group of kids!
Then we jumped in to learning about various styles of airplanes and what they were used for. While we talked, my oldest son operated the computer, and three of the older boys from the class built a model robot airplane from Lego We Do, for the demonstration.
While they were busy building and connecting all the pieces, wires, motion sensors, etc. for the Airplane Rescue model the rest of the club learned about different kinds of airplanes.
I usually have all the kids come up and take turns building with the Lego We Do pieces onto the robotic model we are building, but today I decided to do two things at once. So while these guys were building the robotic airplane, the rest of us had another project.
But when these fellows were done building it, my son showed everyone how to operate the Lego We Do airplane with the computer program.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Concepts they learned about: propeller, blocks, motor power, play sound, random input, start on key press, tilt sensor input, and wait for command keys.
1. How energy transfers through the machine. The energy changes from electrical to
mechanical. The energy transfers from the computer, powers the motor, to the axel, and
turns the propeller blade.
2. Operate a programable model and demonstrate ability to operate digital tools and
3. Build and test power level and movement of the model plane.
4. Understand and use tilt sensor values to control the timing of the motor. The
motor speeds up and slows down depending on the direction of the tilt of the plane.
Then all the kids got to take turns coming up and operating the robotic airplane with the computer and playing around with it.
In addition to various airplanes and 3 helicopters, I also brought some books with information about planes, and lots of pictures to pass around for the kids to look at.
Some of the model airplane and helicopters included:
Harrier Jump Jet
Lego Dino helicopter
But as I introduced a few of the airplanes, a young man spoke up about lots of additional facts about the airplanes. He was an 11 year old boy visiting the club today to see if he might like to join. He knew an amazing amount of information about airplanes.
He did such a great job of talking about the first couple of planes, that I quickly realized it would be much more enjoyable to hear him explaining the planes rather than me. I just turned the airplane presentation over to him. He gladly agreed and beamed with excitement! As we passed around each plane, he gave us a full description.
He can pretty much tell you all about any airplane you can put infront of him, who made them, what country produced them, if they were used by the military, if they were used in a war, how much fuel they hold, how many guns or bombs they hold, if they are civilian, etc. He is an airplane encyclopedia!
He told us learning about planes, boats, and history was his passion. He also told us that he has an uncle who works on planes. This young man has done a lot of research and he truly is passionate about the history of planes. I was so excited to have a kid lead the discussion with such passion and drive. It was refreshing! I truly enjoyed his “on the spot” presentation.
Building Challenge: Paper Planes
Next, I brought kits of paper planes to share with the kids. These planes come in sheets of decorated paper with lines to fold and some lines to cut. The planes also have special flying features and are aerodynamic.
I brought rulers to help them fold with straight edges. However, a problem I quickly realized that I forgot to bring scissors for all the kids. I only brought one pair. OOPPS! Time was not on my side, there was no way 15 kids could wait on one pair of scissors, so I opted to send the papers home with the kids and email their parents the directions to fold and cut, and fly them at home.
I was bummed that I had forgot to bring scissors! These predesigned planes are amazing. They fly very well because of some special folds that make them more aerodynamic and I wanted the kids to learn about these and then learn to make their own designs.
Next we designed our own airplanes and folded them into various plane shapes.
We wrote numbers (100, 200, 300, 400) on paper, and attached them to the floor with tape making a runway for the planes to land. We also divided the kids into two teams: Team A and Team B. Each team had kids in ages from 7 to 13. I tried to pare up kids of similar ages to fly their planes at the same time. But one team had 8 kids and one team had 7 kids, so one person on the smaller team got to fly their plane twice to make it equal.
The goal was to fly their planes to the 400 number if possible. We gave them a practice round and they could make modifications to their plane if it didn’t fly just how they wanted it to.
The second time through the line, we kept scores for the teams. Some planes flew to the 100, 200, 300, and 400. We added up the scores at the end. Yahoo!
It was a lot of fun to go up against your friends and try to beat their scores.
Show and Tell
It amazes me how creative and fun the projects are that the kids create and share with us for show and tell every month. It makes the club personal and fun. I did not tell them ahead of time that we were doing an airplane theme, but many of the kids made airplanes and helicopters for their show and tell.
Many of the kids built thier show and tell projects from their Lego MBA kits we are learning with. All of the kids in the club have purchased the Lego MBA Level 1(kits 1, 2, 3) and Level 2 (kits 4, 5, 6). We use the Lego MBA program to learn better building techniques, and design. Then we can use pieces of other Lego kits and build with the techniques from Lego MBA to create amazing creations from our imagination. You can read more about Lego MBA building techniques in several of our other stories to learn more about this great program.
We had a great variety of projects for Show and Tell today.
Here is a Camper. Next up is a Helicopter that transforms into escape pods if shot down.
A cool Lego MBA Spaceship and a Lego MBA bracelet. Next is a modern day house floorplan. She said she used every Lego kit she had to build it, and she entered this project in the WNC Mountain State Fair and won first place.
Lego MBA Robosaurus, Lego City Police Boat, and a Spinning Lego Ninja.
This fellow brought his map from his trip to Lego Land in Florida. He showed us all the rides he rode and told us about each one.
Lego MBA Space Plane from Level 1. Next is a Three In One Lego MBA spaceship. It separates into 3 separate space planes that all connected into one mother ship.
An ambulance with nurses, stretcher, first aid and more. Next is an Avengers Quinjet plane. This was very cool. It had a robot drone that pooped out, storage for cargo or other figures, a prison with sleeping cots, missiles, and it was supersonic. Wow!
Next is a Lego MBA Helicopter taxi, Lego MBA Samurai Mobile, Monster Fighters, Lego MBA Sharkpedo (space shark torpedo). Also a Commando Assault Machine the ultimate fighter vehicle. He got this idea from the Delta Force movie with Chuck Norris his hero! He used pieces from several Lego Creator kits to make it and used Lego MBA building techniques to design and build it.
Refreshments & Fellowship
Refreshment and Fellowship time is a favorite time to relax, talk with friends, and eat together. A time of fellowship to build bonds and strengthen friendships. Today the families shared angel food cake, grapes, bananas, crackers, cheese, meat, chips, water, and juice. These refreshments make a nice light lunch, as some of the families have more classes later in the afternoon.
After they eat, some of the kids get thier Legos out and battle or create skits or stories using thier different creations. Some families have to leave by now depending on their schedules, but others have time to stay longer. By this time, my own baby wants out of the stroller. The baby and toddler are wanting held now, and my hands are full. As soon as they finish eating, I finally have time to sit and visit with the other families. The kids who stay longer often go outside after we clean up, and play games outside after we are done inside. Several families stay and help me clean up the room, and put tables and chairs away.
Today, several kids stayed and played in the rain under the picnic shelter with my kids after they were done eating inside. They were totally soaked from playing in the rain, and they had a great time getting that way. They played lots of games under the shelter. They had removed their shoes to dance out in the rain and splash in the puddles too. The meeting lasts from 9:00 am to 11:30 am, but by the time the kids play outside for a while with friends, it was nearly 1 pm before we left today. It was a great day!
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No Time For Flash Cards
Feasting In Fellowship
Dinos In July When my third son turned 7 in January, he became an official member of the Lego and Robotics Academy 4H club. The club members are ages 7-18. Siblings can attend, play quietly, and watch. But he is no longer an observer. Now he actually gets to participate. He has been overjoyed to say the least. He looks forward to the next meeting all month long. He received a dinosaur set for his birthday and took it to his first club meeting for Show and Tell. I have never ever met a kid that didn’t like dinosaurs. They are fascinating creatures. We have learned much about them, yet in the larger scheme of life and history, we know so little about them. Still much of what we think we know is conjecture and speculation. Today I set up a “Land of the Dinosaurs” display at the front of the room. The display contained kits from Animal Planet Tub of Dinosaurs (various size and kinds of dinosaurs, and volcanoes, trees, land and water) and Discount School Supply’s Giant Dinosaurs. We also had V-Tech Switch & Go Dinos (RoboticTransforming Dinosaurs), a Diego Jeep, Binoculars, shovels and sifters, tweezers, magnifying glasses, clothes pins & wooden eggs (to build a nest), and a hand broom. Next, they were divided into two teams. They were given a box of Lego Creator Prehistoric Hunters kits. These have 191 pieces. Each set creates three different dinosaurs. Here are just a few of the techniques the kids used:
Given his new found “member” status, and his love of dinosaurs and Legos, this same 7 year old son came to me and said “Mom, can we do a dinosaur theme for our Lego club competition?” I don’t know what I was thinking when I said “Sure son, I will see what I can do to create a dinosaur program for our club.” For months I have banged my head on the wall trying to figure out how to make this happen. I questioned myself “Had I spoke to soon?” I said that fateful “Sure” almost six months ago, and month after month, I “wasn’t sure” how to make it happen. Finally, July was our opening for the dinosaurs.
Over the past several hundred years, man has uncovered bones, teeth, claws, poop, eggs, and has tried to piece together a picture of these monsters from the past. My children and I have read books, watched videos, and watched some of the re-creation programs on the Discovery channel over the past few years, where historians, palenientologists, archeologists and film makers have come together to try to recreate the “land of the dinosaurs”. We have also compared what we hear and learn from these programs to the bible and biblical dinosaur experts from places like the Creation Museum in Kentucky and in Texas. Still, no matter how much we know, don’t know, and guess, we find these creatures mysterious and fascinating.
Today’s 4H Club Meeting Agenda & Plans:
You are a designer/engineer wanting to create a dinosaur Lego and robotic model based on clues from the animals that lived in the past, and from ideas of current technology.
Observe the “land of the dinosaurs”. Pick them up, touch, looking closely at details, etc.
Draw your own dinosaur creation on Lego Brick Paper
Observe a technogaget toy dinosaur robot that transforms from dinosaurs of the past into a fast car of the present.
Build a T-Rex Lego Creations Dinosaur
Go exploring and dig in sand pits like archeologists for lots of different kinds of dinosaurs.
Re-create a “land of the dinosaurs” using the ideas of paleontologists, the dinosaurs from the sand pit dig, and the Lego dinosaur you built.
We had a short business meeting. Today was a little different as we had a substitute president who openend the meeting, and a substitute vice president who introduced visitors and new club members (our president and vice president were not able to be there today). The secretary went over “stuff” we have going on such as our Raffle Fundraiser, and upcoming 4H Animal Showmanship Clinic, and the upcoming projects for the NC Mountain State Fair.
PRESENTATION & ACTIVITY
Land Of The Dinosaur
The kids were encouraged to come up and handle the dinosaur display, look closely feel all of the items, etc.
Then they were asked to take a seat, get an idea in their mind of a dinosaur they would like to build. The kids were each given a piece of special graph paper called Lego brick paper and a sharpened pencil. They were asked to draw the shape of their creation on the Lego brick paper.
Learning to translate their ideas onto paper is such an important step in their learning process. It builds and enhances many cognitive skills in the design process. Lego MBA curriculum encourages kids to draw their designs. We got the Lego Brick Graph Paper from the Lego MBA website. See below for a link for this printable.
They were given about 20 minutes to accomplish this task. They were asked to take their drawing home and build a dinosaur with Legos based on their drawing. The Lego brick paper is great because you can count how many Lego bricks long the nose is, or how many tall the body is, or how many bricks you need for the tail, etc. The kids can get a rough idea and it helps them gage how many bricks they will need to use to create their design. If they make changes to the design, then they should make the changes on their Lego brick paper. They were asked to bring back a finished dinosaur they have created and their drawing they based it from, to the next club meeting for show and tell.
Next, they spent some time playing with two different VTech Switch & Go Dinos. My 9 year old son, and 12 year old son demonstrated for the club how these work. These are robotic transforming dinosaur toys. They have a robotic head / face that has over 50 sound effects and facial features to choose from. They transform from dinosaurs into race cars that race across the floor, and the dino face becomes the car window and kids can choose a driver that appears in the window and racing sound effects with the buttons.
We passed these around to all the kids and they transformed them back and forth and pushed the buttons to select different options. They looked at how the toys were made and located the speakers where the sound comes out.
They hypothesized about the computer program that created and recorded the sounds. They deciphered it was pre-programmed to sense motion which activated the pre-recorded sounds. We have experimented with a program like this in our club meetings with the Lego Education WeDo Robotics. The kids have programmed a Roaring Lion (sleeps /snores, eats /chomps, and sits up and roars). All the sounds are motion activated and the actions are movement or tilt activated. This was a neat way to tie in the concepts of what they have been learning and see how an inventor used this process in a toy (VTech Dino) that kids play with.
Today the building challenge was to build the T-Rex model. They had 35 minutes to work together as a team and build the model.
Learning to work together as a team to accomplish a goal is very important. In these huddles, you will find them negotiating, suggesting, helping, encouraging, taking turns, setting out parts for each other, asking each other questions, and moving towards the goal.
When they had finished building the T-Rex, the teams had to explain what techniques (they have learned about techniques in Lego MBA), that they used to build this dinosaur model.
Dinos In July
When my third son turned 7 in January, he became an official member of the Lego and Robotics Academy 4H club. The club members are ages 7-18. Siblings can attend, play quietly, and watch. But he is no longer an observer. Now he actually gets to participate. He has been overjoyed to say the least. He looks forward to the next meeting all month long. He received a dinosaur set for his birthday and took it to his first club meeting for Show and Tell.
I have never ever met a kid that didn’t like dinosaurs. They are fascinating creatures. We have learned much about them, yet in the larger scheme of life and history, we know so little about them. Still much of what we think we know is conjecture and speculation.
Today I set up a “Land of the Dinosaurs” display at the front of the room. The display contained kits from Animal Planet Tub of Dinosaurs (various size and kinds of dinosaurs, and volcanoes, trees, land and water) and Discount School Supply’s Giant Dinosaurs. We also had V-Tech Switch & Go Dinos (RoboticTransforming Dinosaurs), a Diego Jeep, Binoculars, shovels and sifters, tweezers, magnifying glasses, clothes pins & wooden eggs (to build a nest), and a hand broom.
Next, they were divided into two teams. They were given a box of Lego Creator Prehistoric Hunters kits. These have 191 pieces. Each set creates three different dinosaurs.
Here are just a few of the techniques the kids used:
Next they went outside and explored a sand pit (large boxes of sand) full of buried dinosaurs. They had 10 minutes to locate various dinosaurs with shovels and scoops, and them clean them off with a brush.
Then bring the dinosaurs they found back inside and re-create the scene they observed and played with at the front of the room at the beginning of the meeting. Once they were back inside at their team’s table, they had to use blue and green construction paper, dinosaurs they uncovered in the sand pits, trees, volcanos, and their Lego T-Rex dinosaur they built to re-create a “Land Of The Dinosaurs” scene.
Team 1 was first finishing their dinosaur, but both team 1 and team 2 tied in the end by the time they had everything finished. (a fellow is missing in the picture for team 2). It was a good Dinosaur Building Competition.
Show and Tell
Next we had Show and Tell. For our Show and Tell portion of the meeting, kids bring various items related to Legos, robotics, or things they have created, or projects they are interested in to the meeting. Most of the time these creations are made with their Lego MBA kits. But they are welcome to bring in other things too. We usually spend about 30 minutes or so. Each kid is asked to spend about 3 minutes telling us about what they brought.
We had a four different kids bring projects they made with their Lego MBA kits. There were airplanes, space planes, space trash collection ship, and a rock band all made with their Lego MBA kits. The plane in the second photo above was actually made using three kits from his Lego MBA program. Wow, what a master piece!
The kids also shared a robot made from a soda pop can, a Robots movie, and a Bloco Dinosaur building set my son just got the night before and didn’t have a chance to build it yet.
Bloco Dinosaur Building Set He plans to bring the finished project next time. He was so excited to find this kit.
Here is a video of one of the kids showing the kids his soda pop can robot he built with his dad:
Where to find resources:
Lego Brick Paper
Giant Soft Dinosaur Set
Animal Planet Big Tub of Dinosaurs
VTech Switch & Go Dinos
You would not believe the love and hugs and comments I got for days following the meeting. That was awesome mom, lets do it again! That was so much fun!
Whew! It all came together…..an now…. I need to….. get busy….. and plan….. the next one…….
If you can help with donations to our fundraising efforts for these kids, please see the fundraising story posted here to see how you can help us.
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We are selling raffle tickets to raise money for our Lego and Robotics Academy 4H club. We are raffling a Lego Technic Offroader Building Set.
My boys have worked really hard to sell these tickets. For nearly every “yes” answer they recieved, they also got at least four “no” answers.
Sometimes the no answers were really hard for them to recieve. They put in countless hours for the past several weeks going door to door, shop to shop, and park to park to make a small $2 sale. It has been hot. Very hot! So walking door to door has been even more challenging in the summer heat.
When they recieved a “yes” answer, they were thrilled. You would think it was Christmas, they were so excited to recieve their $2.
But when the answer was “no”, and the next answer was “no”, and then “no’, and the next “no”, they were so sad. It really took the excitement away and stole their joy.
But it also gave them good life experience. I want them to understand how to accept the “no” answers in life. It can be a hard pill to swallow when you are trying so hard and giving it all you got. But sometimes, you encounter negative people who don’t want to see you succeed, and don’t want to help you succeed. Some might even be jealous of your success. But more often than not, it is just a lack of caring or concern from others. They don’t take the time to know what their indifference or their support could mean to the outcome.
My SOAP Box:
Frankly, it amazes me that so many successful business people don’t care, don’t seem to have the time, or are indifferent about helping these kids acheive their goals to learn about life, and academics including science, technology, engineering, and math. I didn’t show any of the pictures of the kids leaving these businesses, but trust me, there were plenty of turn downs and dissapointments. What business can’t offer a handshake and donate $2 ? All these folks passed up a great opportunity to pat these kids on the back and say “keep up the good work, you can do it! Keep going, you can accomplish so much”. Why turn away from them? Why would you tell them “no” to such a possitive opportunity? These kids are the future of our businesses, towns, cities, and economy. In just a few short years, they will be making decisions that affect us all. How can you turn a blind eye to them?
I am very thankful for the businesses and individuals that did shake the kid’s hands and donated $2 to their cause. The joy the kids experienced was priceless.
Even though they encountered some “no’s” and some “yes’s” and worked super hard to sell their tickets, they are more determined than ever to raise the funds needed to support their club activities and buy supplies they need and hopefully earn enough to pay their fees to be a First Lego League. They are staying the course and working hard to reach their goals.
What are their goals for the 2012-2013 season?
To raise $10,000:
Pay for club supplies for Lego and Robotics Academy 4H Club.
Set up an educational display (STEM) for the Mountain State Fair in Asheville, NC.
Set up an educational workshop (STEM) for Farm City Day in Hendersonville, NC.
Purchase 5 Scribbler 2 Robots for club. (This would allow us to share 6 kids per robot as
we are growing the club to 30 kids).
Purchase 5 NXT Robotics kits for club.
Purchase 5 laptop computers for club.
Pay for 3 to 5 FLL teams (6 kids per team) and to attend First Lego League competitions.
Overall it has been a good experience for them to meet people and share their goals with them and gain confidence in communicating with others. The ups and downs of selling their tickets will prepare them for other opportunities in life. They are learning to speak to the public about their goals, and learning to negotiate and problem solve too. Learning to handle success and failure is a positvie skill that will carry them through out their life.
I am very proud of them.
The kids are exhausted, but they will continue to knock on doors. They have also asked me to help them and let our readers know they need your help to reach their goals. So here it is, you can help these kids by buying raffle tickets or making donations.
Lego Technic Off-Roader Building Kit
141 Building Pieces with realistic details.
Complete plans for an off-road JEEP and an off-road DUNEBUGGY.
Raffle Tickets are $2 each, and online purchases of tickets
must be at least $10 worth.
No limit to the number of tickets you buy in groups of $10
or doantions you want to make.
All tickets sold go into a basket. On the day of the drawing, during the 4H club meeting, one club kid will hold the basket, another club kid will stir the tickets in the basket so they are evenly mixed up.
Then another club kid will draw out the winning ticket.
The winner will be announced during the meeting,
also on this website, by telephone, and by email.
The winner will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize. Otherwise a new winner will be chosen.
Only residents in the USA can enter the raffle.
But you are welcome to make a
donation whether you are inside or outside the USA.
Winner will be drawn 8/21.
Donations are welcome and appreciated.
Lego and Robotics Academy 4 H Club
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Furthering the STEM Initiative
This is for a great cause and I hope you will support these kids and help them reach their goals. Thank you for your support and donations.
Be sure to check out all of our stories about Lego and Robotics Academy. Subscribe by email so you can recieve the latest updates as they are posted.
If you want to share some words of encouragement to the club kids, leave your comments here and I will be sure and relay them to the club.
Thank you very much!
“When I asked for your help, you answered my prayer and gave me courage.” Psalm 138:3 What signals or message do the different color flags used during a race tell or communicate to the race car drivers and their team?
It would be an understatement to say the Lego and Robotics Academy club is fun.
It totally ROCKS!
Uh, hum, did I say that? Well yes, I DID! These kids are so awesome! I think I have the funnest job in the world, being their teacher!
We are learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in our club. Learning together with these kids has never been so much fun! We have been using various Lego products including Lego MBA, Lego WeDo, Lego NXT, and various Lego bricks and parts.
We met today, and held a building and racing challenge using Lego Racers, a show and tell using our Lego MBA kits and various Lego pieces, and a time of fellowship and refreshments. The meeting lasted about two and a half hours. This post is about the building and racing challenge. Look for a second story about the show and tell and fellowship from today’s meeting. You can also read about our other great learning programs we have done at Lego and Robotics Academy.
Our kids are designed for learning in a fun way.
The goal is simple. Find ways to have fun while learning. Or another way to look at it is to learn while having fun. I think we accomplished this goal today!
I always pray before working on a learning plan for the club. I am giving credit where credit is due. Don’t think this stuff is all my idea. No way. I have to give credit to my creator, God, who inspires me. Yes, thats right, God answers prayer, gives courage, and inspires people.
While preparing the program and lesson for today, I felt inspired to help the kids learn and practice math skills, geography skills, and engineering skills while working together in teams. Teams are great because working together in teams teaches cooperation, negotiation, conflict resolution, and sharing responsibilities to reach a specific goal.
Today we were off to the races with a fun building competition. If you have ever seen the Disney movies Cars and Cars 2, then you have a kid’s idea of racing cars, and animated racing fun in different countries.
In Cars 1, its all about racing in the USA, and in Cars 2, Lightning McQueen and his friends travel around the world for international competitions. In Cars 2 they race in the United Kingdom, Japan, and Italy. While the race is going on, one of McQueens’ friends, Matter, gets accidentally caught up in a spy operation to take down a gang that wants to rule the world by controlling the fuel. It is a great movie with lots of thrills and suspense, and my kids love watching it again and again. A few months ago, we hosted a movie party in our home and watched this movie. You can read more about it by clicking the link here.
Here is a short video clip from the Cars 2 movie.
I thought it would be a lot of fun to work with an idea from a story about something relevant in our culture that most kids today have seen and love, like the racing in these movies. My plan was to spend some time racing with Lego cars and learn a little about the countries that hosted the races in these movies.
Small efficient teams and engineering were at the heart of the learning experience for today. In the Cars 2 movie, Mater becomes part of an International Spy team. His team has to help re-design his truck to out run and out wit the bad guys. In both movies, Lightning McQueen also has a team of mechanics and supporters / friends that help him keep his car in perfect condition to race fast and finish the race. So working in teams was also important in completing our race challenges today.
We divided into four teams. Each team was small and had only three members / race car drivers. This was key in being able to work quickly to build their cars, and complete three important race segments and find their average distance traveled. The youngest person on the team is racer 1, the next older person is racer 2, and oldest person on the team is racer 3. The job of the race car driver was to line up the car on the stomper and stomp to make the car race across the floor. Each team also had an adult helper.
The teams learned about:
Each team was randomly given a race car kit, assigned a country, and given the flag coloring page for that country. Each person was also given a racing flag coloring sheet too. We used the Lego Racers building kits. These kits contain a set of blueprints to build the car, various Lego bricks and wheels to build the car, and an air pressure stomp to be assembled.
Each of the 4 teams were given the same instructions and completed three large challenges today. Everyone went through the same exact steps in each challenge, though each team had a different car to build in challenge one. Everything was completed and raced in stages. The pictures I’ve shared with you through out this story are random from all four teams during different stages of our challenges today.
Building Race Cars
Using the Lego Racer kits provided, follow the building plans in the kit and build a race car for your team and country.
Team Italy Lego Racers DRAGON DUELER
Team USA Lego Racers HERO
Team Japan Lego Racers VICIOUS VIPER
Team United Kingdom Lego Racers STING STRIKER
RACE, Measure, Record, Color, Locate, Calculate, and Learn.
Race Car Driver 1: Race your car. Connect the car to the air pressure stomp. Stomp it and watch it race across the floor to the other side of the room.
Team: Measure the distance and record it. Using a rope and the tape measure, stretch them between the stomper and the location the car ended. How many inches did the car travel? Write your answer down on your country’s flag page each time you race. We will use these numbers at the end of the three races.
Team: Find your country on the globe and show it to your team’s adult helper.
Each racer on the team: Color your country’s flag.
Race Car Driver 2: Race your car again.
Team: Measure the 2nd distance and record it.
Team: Each race car driver on the team must color the racing flags page and learn what each flag used in a race stands for. Share the information with your team’s adult helper.
Race Car Driver 3: Race your car again.
Team: Measure the 3rd distance and record it.
Team: Find the average distance your car raced. Using the numbers you recorded on your country’s flag page, add all three distances together and divide by 3. This is the average distance your race car traveled.
What team’s car went the farthest?
#1 USA #2 United Kingdom #3 Italy #4 Japan
What powered the car to travel in the race?
Air power. Air pressure was generated by stomping on the stomper. Air pressure was sent to the car through a connector tube. The blast of air caused the car to shoot forward with momentum.
Why did the car travel across the room?
The momentum of the car caused the car to continue to move forward. It continued to move forward because the force pulled the car forward. The car rolled on 4 wheels. Two wheels in front were connected by an axel. Two wheels in back were connected by an axel. The two sets of wheels in front and back moved freely but in unison allowing the force from the blast of air pressure to propel the car straight forward.
Does the car have brakes?
How could we give these race cars brakes?
Place a parachute on the back of the car to capture air and slow it to a stop.
Place sandpaper infront of the tires to cause more friction to slow the tires to a stop.
Place an incline in front of the car, causing gravity to pull the car backwards as it tries to go up the incline and reducing the forward force of momentum.
If the car does not have brakes, why did the car come to a stop?
Eventually the force pushing the car forward was less than the force of friction and gravity. Enough friction occurred and slowed the car to a stop. The aerodynamic shape of the car helped to minimize friction. The ability of the wheels to turn with minimal ground contact allows the car to minimize friction. The reduction in friction allowed the car to continue movement for a long distance. Eventually friction and the pull of gravity were greater, and the force from the air blast disappeared causing the car to stop.
How could we make the car continue going a longer distance?
Provide another or larger air blast, or an engine with power, or a source of power to cause momentum with the car or momentum with the axel and wheels. You could also have the car travel down hill and use the force of gravity to help it go farther. You could also set up a sail and provide wind behind the car to move it forward like a sail boat.
What things about the car’s design might have allowed some cars to go further than others?
GREEN: “GO”. The green flag starts the race.
YELLOW: “Caution”, there is a problem, slow down and keep your position.
RED: “STOP!” To be safe you must stop quickly and safely.
BLACK: “Come In”. Drive your car into the pits.
WHITE: “Last Lap”. You have one final lap until the finish line, do your best.
CHECKERED: “You WON!” The checkered flag is waved as the winner crosses the finish line.
Re-Engineer and Race
Trouble shoot and re-engineer modifications to the cars if needed, then race your team’s car again and see if you can make it go farther.
ALL TEAMS: Race, and modify three more times to see if you can improve your distance.
What team’s car traveled the farthest out of the last three races?
#1 USA #2 United Kingdom #3 Italy #4 Japan
What car has the best design, needed the least modifications, for going the longest distance today?
Hero, Sting Striker, and Dragon Dueler all performed similar and seem to be the best built for the application we did.
Though some teams made modifications, the end results were similar in challenge 3 to the results in challenge 2. Team USA, Team United Kingdom, and Team Italy were nearly the same in their outcomes through out all the races.
In my opinion, the Hero, Sting Striker, and the Dragon Dueler cars are the better made products for doing this activity. We only tested out four cars and there are other cars in the Lego Racer series. I would like to repeat this activity and use the other cars and see if our results were different.
We had a lot of trouble with the Vicious Viper car for several reasons. The wheels on the Vicious Viper were too tight causing more friction, it had knobbed tires instead of smooth tires, so the tires grabbed the floor differently than the smooth tires, and the vehicle was taller than the other vehicles causing more air friction, and it also did not want to slide off the connector tube on the stomper.
So this vehicle more than any others required a lot of trial and error as the kids and their adult helper continually tested it out and made modifications after each race. Some of the changes they had to make were to remove some of the decorative pieces lowering the height of the car, loosen the wheels, and lubricate the connector tube. It was a good experience for them to learn what design flaws were causing the issues and re-engineer ways to improve the vehicle so they could complete the race.
Unfortunately, in the final set of races, several cars got “stuck” on their stomper mechanisms and it took a little longer for their cars to go. But we were not competing with race times today, we were competing with race distances, so it did not matter if they weren’t first in racing the car. But at times, the stuck stomper issue was a little frustrating for the kids as they were so excited for the stomp, and then let down if the car didn’t go on the first attempt.
I made some videos of the final races and combined them with pictures into one video. I forgot to make videos earlier in the meeting of the earlier races which were awesome to see, but I took lots of pictures. In this video, you will also see how some cars got stuck on the stomper and see one team trying to re-engineer their vehicle to go the distance.
We learned and practiced lots of vocabulary words today.
Traveling on a Plane vs. an Incline
Flag Coloring Pages for these countries:
Racing Flags Coloring Page for flags used to signal during a race.
“I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful.” 2 Timothy 4:7
For our next meeting we are planning to build an inclined race track, and use the force of gravity to pull the car down the ramp, and friction to stop the car. Each kid will build their own Lego race car, and race as individuals (no teams). Each car will be racing for speed, not for distance next time. I don’t know if I can pull it off, but I would love to have a robotic sensor that measures the speed at the finish line. This may be a bigger challenge than I can muster just yet. Our “judge of time” may be just a stop watch and a parent helper calling out the times, and the robot sensor may come at a future race. It’s a desired goal anyway. I know our next race is going to be even more awesome as we see the creativity, design, and engineering skills in action from these kids.
It takes a lot of resources to do these activities and teach these concepts with kids. In addition to learning together in our meetings, our goal is to progress into a First Lego League Team. If you would like to donate funds, gift cards, or building kits to help these kids learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) please send me an email at weiser academy at aol dot com.
Feel free to leave us a comment about this learning activity in the comment section below. Thank you.
This post will link up with
No Time For Flash Cards
“When I asked for your help, you answered my prayer and gave me courage.” Psalm 138:3My heavenly father, the creator of the universe, is the greatest engineer there ever has been. He knows it all. I believe he enjoys it when we take time to ask for his help, and when we apply ourselves to learn about Him, and learn about science and engineering and how he engineered the universe to work.
What signals or message do the different color flags used during a race tell or communicate to the race car drivers and their team?
We are planning a fun race theme for our upcoming Lego and Robotics Academy program. I have big dreams on a tiny budget! So, given that my ideas are bigger than my wallet, I have been researching online how we can plan a Lego race car party for minimal expense.
I thought it would be fun to post about several resources I found online on how to build a Lego car of your own. Some are built with kits and some are just built from the imagination and various Lego pieces.
We have been working in the Lego MBA curriculum for the past 10 months (kits 1-6) and most of our club kids are beginning this final kit #6. So we thought it would be a lot of fun to have a party with a racing theme to celebrate! We will show you how this all turned out in a future story in the Lego and Robotics Academy category of stories. We will also show you how we built a race car using kit 6 in a future Lego MBA story, so check both of those categories on the side bar for lots of more Lego FUN!
Kit 6 of Lego MBA level 2 has a race car theme. The kids will learn several building techniques in this kit and build three different race car models, plus a challenge model they design by themselves using the building skills and techniques they have learned.
Video of my kids racing Lego vehicals down a slide in the living room.
Lego MBA (Level 2 Kit 6) F1 Racer and Lego City 4 wheeler
But if you don’t have this kit, no worries mate! If you’ve got wheels, you can probably build your own race car from the parts you have on hand.
Spending a little time researching this theme, I have found several building plans and videos about Lego race cars. Check out these great resources to spark your creativity and get you started. If you need to turn down the volume of the music on the videos, feel free to do so. You can get some great ideas from these projects (videos, building plans, news stories, online games, etc.) listed below.
Creative Lego Racing Ideas
Lego Sports Car tutorial:
Lego Sports Car
Lego Creator Sports Car 5867
How To Make A Lego Race Car
Lego Sport Champions F1 Racing
Lego Car Collection
Lego Race Car Crash
Amazing race track. This kid has built lots of amazing things! His room full of Legos is mind-bogling! Be sure to check out his other Lego videos too.
Lego Pinewood Derby Car Upgraded
Lego Car Race
Lego Car Race at Disney
Check out these links for more great ideas to spark your creativity:
Lego Digital Designer design and build a race car online.
Lego Speed Racer building plans 8159 hosted at Lets Build It Again.
Lego Speed Racer building plans 8158 hosted at Lets Build It Again.
Lego Slammer Dragster building plans 8238 hosted at Lets Build It Again.
Lego Rubber Band Race Car building plans hosted at Kids Make Stuff.
Lego Car building plans hosted at E-How.
Lego Balloon Race Car building plans made by Davis Creek Elementary School.
Online Lego Race Car Game
How to make a Lego Race car travel at 25 miles per hour.
Do you know of any great Lego race car ideas or building plans? Please leave a comment below, thank you!