Category Archives: 4H Clubs & 4H Activities & 4H Fairs

Lego Show and Tell April

We have so much fun sharing our creations each month during our Show and Tell at Lego and Robotics Academy.  We are learning how to speak in public, design, and build projects, and we are furthering our learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).


month, lots of kids shared Lego projects they built over the past few weeks at home.  They are welcome to share any projects they want and we often have a wide variety of projects to see and hear about for our Show and Tell. 

Many of the projects brought to Show and Tell are from the Lego MBA curriculum we have been learning with this year.   We are really excited about all the fun learning we have accomplished with the Lego MBA program both in our 4H Club and in our homeschool too.

If your kids like Legos, this is an awesome program you can get them started in. The first year of learning costs about $99 and involves two levels (Level 1 & Level 2) divided into six learning kits.  Level 3 will be available on the market soon. 

Here is a video description of this great learning program. 

Our club kids are at different levels in the Lego MBA curriculum, because they work on it independently at home.  Some kids go fast and some go slow and some joined in at an earlier or later point in time over the past year.  So all different projects show up at our meetings.  It is really interesting to listen the to the kids as they share their projects and discuss the building techniques they have learned.  They also have the opportunity during some of our meetings, to build projects during competitions, using techniques they have learned through Lego MBA.

These are some fun projects from kit 3 and kit 5.

This gal has a project from level 5 and she was also featured with her brother in the new Lego Education brochure from Lego sitting on the table in front of her.  In the brochure, you can read an interview with her dad, see pictures of her and her brother and learn how Legos can be educational used in homeschooling.  Her dad made a video and one the Lego Smart Creativity Contest in the homeschool division.  You can read more about them and see their video by clicking the link here

Her brother brought a Lego micro build bull dozer and a RV camper to share with us.

The kids write down some cues on a notecard or piece of paper.  Then they use this notecard as a helpful tool to remember what information they want to share about the project they built.  I encourage all the kids to use a notecard to help them feel more confident about speaking, or presenting, their project to our group.

Some of the more experienced kids memorize their speech at home and don’t need their notecard when telling the group about their project.  For example, this fellow has been in 4H for several years and has competed in speech contests on a local county, district, and state level.  He does such a good job, he was recently asked to teach a workshop at the extension office to teach other kids how to “open” their speeches to an audience.

It is very exciting to watch the kids practice, and become confident while speaking in front of their peers and adults.  This fellow shared an alien space ship he designed.

This was a great example of a challenge model from kit 1.   This young man built a solar powered hover space plane.  It has a cockpit, special landing gear, special solar window panels to gather solar power, a gear shift, blasters and more.

The same young man also built a three person award/trophy stand.  Three Lego minifigures each stood on their spot on the platform and received awards for 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place.  He was very creative.

That is just what makes this club so fun, besides building, and learning, its the freedom to be creative and share our creations with each other that makes it great! 

This fellow has been learning about the Titanic and built a ship for Show and Tell.

Here is another robot model from Lego MBA level 1 kit 3.

This fellow made two speed boat models at home that we used earlier today in class as our boat prototype for our building competition.  He decided that he didn’t want to speak about them in Show and Tell since we already played with them earlier for class.  But, being his mom, I thought he did a great job building the boats, and I wanted to include them anyway.  You can read about the building competition and how we used these boats in the story posted at the link here

Here is another Tyrax (mutant dino) model from Lego MBA from level 2 kit 5.

Well that about sums up another great meeting with these terrific kids!

Stay tuned for next month.  Start your creative engines!  We are headed to the races!

Be sure to check out all our Lego and Robotics Academy stories at the link posted here.

Be sure to check out how we use Lego MBA in our homeschool in the stories posted here.

Question:  Can you think of a building theme we can use for one of our Show and Tell times?  Please leave a comment below, thank you.

This post will be linked with:
No Time For Flash Cards
Sharing Time
Kids Coop
Raising Homemakers

Please share.

Lego and Robotics Academy April

The only thing I can think of that is more fun than kids, Legos, and robots, is making and eating an ice cream Sunday while playing with kids, Legos and robots.  It’s just that much fun!

We had an awesome meeting today!  Lego and Robotics Academy meets each month to further the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics skills (STEM) of local kids in our area.  We met with 13 club kids and 10 parents today.  Several of our club kids were missing and we sure miss them when they are gone. 

We started out with a short 4H”business” meeting.  This helps the kids learn valuable leadership skills.  We have a club president, vice president, secretary/treasurer, and a representative.  They each share a few minutes about the “goings on” of the club.


Next, we had a presentation (or learning activity). Today we made the “Roaring Lion” and the “Drumming Monkey” from the Lego Education WeDo Robotics kit.

Each of the kids took turns pressing the keys on the computer to make the robotic lion and the robotic monkey operate.


Today’s focus was for the kids to get familiar with how the robots are programmed by the computer to operate.  During previous meetings, the kids learned about motors, gears, axels, pulleys and more.  They learned to build several projects, and a dancing birds robot.  But today they learned how the computer program controls the motor speed and motor direction, senses motion, and makes sound effects.  By combining these functions with the model, they were able to make the model operate.  

For the lion, he was programmed to wake up and roar, then go to sleep and snore, then wake up again, roar, and eat.  

A motor and an axel with two gears attached at right angles and another axel attached to the legs controlled the movement of the legs sitting up and laying down.  The sound effects came from the computer.  The computer powered the motor.  A motion tilt sensor triggered the lion to eat. The kids made a piece of Lego “meat” to pretend the lion was eating and the computer made chomping sound effects to simulate the lion chomping on his food.

The Drumming Monkey’s arms moved because of the motor turning an axel which turned gears and another axel with two oblong shaped pieces positioned under the arms.  The arms rested on these.  When the axle turned them, they made the arms rise and fall.  They could be positioned to cause both arms to beat at the same speed, or so that one arm beat twice as fast as the other arm. 

The monkey began his show when he sensed voice activation from the student.

Lego Education WeDo Robotics makes this learning process easy and fun.  They have designed a simple multi function kit that allows the kids to do 20 getting started learning activities and build 12 robotic models. 

The computer program is basically grab and drop.  In simple terms: the computer program is a series of blocks the kids move into place to tell the motor and sensors what to do.  The motor and sensors send power to the model and feedback to the computer.  The kids can adjust the model or adjust the program to reach desired results.

In the future, we will have the kids come up with their own ideas to alter to moves and sound effects of these simple robots, and we will make the Lion and Monkey function in some slightly different ways, but today we stuck with the way the WeDo curriculum has it.


Next we had a building competition.  The kids were divided into two teams, given parent helpers, a box full of various Legos, and given a building challenge to solve.   

I have so much fun coming up with these building challenges. I usually pray about it for a few weeks.  Then I design a short story that shows a dilemma at Lego City.  The kids then design a solution to the dilemma.

Today, they were to “upscale” a boat for the Lego City Coast Guard. They were shown a prototype, a speed boat,  and were asked upscale it or resize it 2x larger.

Some math was involved.  They had to count how long and how wide it was and multiply it by 2 and draw out their new boat on Lego brick paper.  The prototype was 6 Lego studs wide, so they designed the new boat to be 12 studs wide.  It was 20 studs long so they designed their new boat to be 12 x 40.  They could use any combination of colors, but a few key features were required and you can read the description below to see more about the details.

They were asked to use several building techniques they have been learning in their Lego MBA curriculum.  Techniques such as sideways building, locking, alternative use, etc. are very important skills to use in these competitions.  They are asked to design their project on Lego brick paper.  This is such great practice for them and helps them understand the process of working on a team to create a concept then producing an actual finished project based on their design concept.  The whole process involves team work to accomplish the goal.

Both teams did a great job!  Here is the actual building challenge from today:

bsp;                                                                                                    Lego and Robotics Academy

April 17, 2012

Design & Building Challenge

Team ONE

 The boat yard of Lego City has just received a request for a special speed boat for the Coast Guard.  Lego City in the USA has been fighting crime along its shoreline and waterways, and needs a new boat that is fast, big, able to haul several agents, able to rescue boaters and fishermen in distress, and haul criminals and cargo back to shore. 

Your Job:  Boat Engineer TEAM

Create a BIG, useful, fast boat to help the Coast Guard of Lego City in this crisis.  You must upscale the prototype boat.  Draw it bigger and build it bigger!  Use the Building Techniques you have learned from the Lego MBA program.   The vehicle must be big enough, and able to help with the manpower needed to find missing Lego people at sea, and also haul supplies needed, to haul first aid, tools, rescue workers, and hold prisoners and cargo.

 All of the needed Legos and materials to complete the challenge, are in the container provided.

You have 30 minutes to design and build your project


1 Point Earned for using these techniques in your model.   Total possible points for challenge  =  6 .

Alternative Uses (using a piece in a different way than its original use)

Macro build  (up scaling, increasing size to make it larger)

Locking Technique (locking two or more bricks together with one that lies across them)

Sideways Building Technique (build out to add more details and shapes)

Symmetrical Building (building a mirror image that matches on both sides)

Completed drawing on Lego Brick Paper of your design.



Take pictures as the team builds their project, and a few pictures of the completed project.

In this space, please write down the names of all the kids on Team One.  Turn this in to Miss Melinda when finished.


 Be sure all Lego pieces, lumber, pencils, eraser, design paper, and this completed form are returned to the container when finished.  Look around on the floor to be sure you did not drop any Legos or forget anything.  Thank you.

Team ONE

Team TWO


Next we had show and tell.  The kids prepare a project at home and bring it to the meeting to share it with us.  This is a great confidence booster.  Many of the kids are doing very well with their public speaking skills they are practicing with show and tell.

Though the kids can bring anything related to our club for show and tell (Lego projects, Robots, Books, whatever) the majority are bringing in their Lego MBA projects they are building. 

Some bring in models from the kits (1-6) and some bring in challenge models they designed using the techniques learned in Lego MBA. 
I will post another story about this months show and tell, and share great pictures of all of the kids projects.

Please check out our Lego MBA stories to find out more about what we are learning with this curriculum.  Also check out our other show and tell stories and club happenings from Lego and Robotics Academy to see all the great projects the kids are doing.


We ended our meeting with refreshments and social time.  The kids had so much fun. 

I am so thankful to all the parents who give of themselves and pitch in.  I could not host these meetings without their help.

Parents help out in so many ways and it makes everything go smoothly.  Parents help manage the club kids while they are learning during the meeting, they help with teams when we divide the group for projects, they bring refreshments and help the kids get something to eat and drink.  They help the kids set up tables and chairs and clean up too.  They also take turns watching the kids after the meeting if they want to play outside.  

Each of these families have become special to me.  I love them all.

A really special help for me is that several parents hold my baby, and keep the younger kids busy while I teach the class.  What a blessing they are! 

A special aspect of homeschooling is that the whole family does things together. So lots of kids of all ages, and all stages, are at our meetings.  These are family units coming to be a part of what we are learning.  In addition to kids and their parents, we also have some grandparents, and aunts and uncles attend too.  How Cool Is That?

Younger kids do need extra help with lots of different things.  They may need extra attention, they might need redirected, maybe they are thirsty or need help with a snack, or help going to the bathroom as they are potty training. 

I was able to sneak over to the toddler area for a few minutes during the building competition, and help my three and four year olds go potty.  My four year old daughter is potty trained, but I am still teaching my three year old son.  I was so proud of him today.  His diaper stayed dry.  He pooped and peed on the potty.  Then we washed and dried hands.  He did great!  It took me away from the main action of the meeting for a few minutes.  But I am so glad I was there to praise him for a job well done.

I’m always planning!  Our next meeting has a race car theme!  We plan to build a ramp, a track, have a competition, and pizza!  I can’t wait!  One of these days we’ve got to plan an Ice Cream Sunday for our meeting!

Stay tuned for more fun filled science learning adventures with our club.

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
ABC and 123
Sharing Time
Raising Homemakers

Please share.

Lego Show and Tell March

That just seemed like a funny way to word this title for this story.  This story is not about a Lego march, but actually about the SHOW and Tell at our March Lego and Robotics Academy meeting we had yesterday.  But I had so many pictures of the rest of the meeting, I needed to create a second post to share the Show and Tell pictures.

When the kids first arrive, they set up their projects on the Show and Tell table. 

I love this part, just before the meeting starts.  The kids are so excited to talk to each other one on one about the project they made.  They ask each other questions about special features of their creations.

They really appreciate each other and understand all the hard work each of them put into making their models.   They are careful not to touch or break them and they are respectful.

Then they take their seats and our meeting begins.  If you would like to read about our meeting, please read the story posted here .

We usually have our Show and Tell time after the program and activity part of our meeting, but before refreshments.  This is a really good experience for the kids.  They are able to share their interests with kids who have similar interests.  They are able to practice public speaking skills with a group of kids and parents who really are interested in what they have to say. 

Show and Tell is optional, the kids are not forced to participate.  But if they want to bring in a project they have been working on, they are welcome to do so.  I encourage the kids to bring in a challenge model they have been working on in their Lego MBA kits.  But they are welcome to bring any project they like. 

I do ask the kids to spend 3-5 minutes telling us about their project.  I also ask them to write out some clues about what they want to say by answering these specific questions on an index card. 

Use an index note card to help you with your presentation during show and tell.

Please give Miss Melinda your notecard after you speak.

*On the index note card, list out the answers to these items to help you tell us about your project:

Tell us your name and age.

Tell us what the model is and from what kit you built it.

Tell us what new design concept you learned or what design concepts you applied to building it.

Tell us why you liked building it or why it is your favorite.

An easy way to transport your Lego project is in a box, or on a cookie sheet, or cake pan. The flat surface helps the model to stay stationary, and the sides help catch any pieces if they come off during transport.

Having this note card beside them is a helpful prompt they can look at during their speech to remind them of what they want to say next.

We had 14 kids participate in the March Show and Tell.  The kids pictured here vary in age from 7 to 12 years old.  The kids stood on the behind the table with their project on the table in front of them.   We completely filled two tables and were overflowing. They are facing and speaking to the listening audience (parents and other kids).


Show and Tell is my favorite part of the meeting, because each kid has the opportunity to share and express their interests and creativity in their own special way. 

If you would like to send in pictures of Lego projects your kids have created, I would be glad to post them in a story.  I would love to have a monthly show and tell with our viewers.    You can contact me at weiser academy at aol dot com .  Please send a photo and include the name of the project your child built, and their age.  I will publish a post each month with the new photos you send me. I’m looking forward to seeing what your kids are creating.  Thank you.

Feel free to leave a comment below, thank you.

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We Do Dancing Birds at Lego and Robotics Academy

What a blast the Lego and Robotics Academy meeting was for March!   Spring is in the air.  The kids were so excited, and ….well….. I .…was super fired up too.  It was such a terrific meeting!


We started our meeting out with a short business meeting.  The president (age 11) opened the meeting, the vice president (age 10) introduced the visitors, and the secretary treasurer (age 11) gave an update. 

Then we started our program WeDo from Lego Education.  Today the kids learned to make the Dancing Birds robotic project.  


Each child took turns volunteering to build different steps in the project until it was all complete.


The kids learned how the motor turns the vertical axel and a gear turns a horizontal axel. A pulley and rope turn another pulley which turns the second horizontal axel and gear and vertical axel turning the second bird.

The program on the computer was set to turn the motor, play a tweeting sound, turn the motor, play a tweeting sound and repeats over and over.  The kids also criss-crossed the rope to make the birds dance and twirl in opposite directions, and then used a small pulley on one side to speed up one of the birds, and then switched to the other side.

We made a couple of videos of the finished project in action.
This is Dancing Bird video #1

This is Dancing Bird video #2

We are learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) through these hands on activities.  If you would like to learn what goes on in the curriculum of WeDo Lego Education, read more stories posted here .  If you would like to learn more about the Lego MBA curriculum, read here .  If you would like to read more stories about our Lego and Robotics Academy meetings, read here .


Next the kids divided into two teams for a design and build challenge.   Each team was given a problem and design challenge to solve.   We combined techniques we have learned in our Lego MBA to help us complete this challenge.  Here is what we did:

Lego and Robotics Academy

March 20, 2012

Design & Building Challenge

Team ONE  &  Team TWO


Lego City, Lego in the USA has just been struck by a tornado.   Also towns all around Lego City have been severely damaged too.  Several Lego people have died in the storm and several are still missing and buried under the storm debrie.  There is no electricity, food, or water able to get to the damaged areas.  Homes and businesses have been destroyed and the whole city is in chaos.

Create a useful vehicles to help Lego City in this crisis.  Use the Building Techniques you have learned from the Lego MBA program.   The vehicles must be able to help with the manpower needed to find missing Lego people, and also haul supplies needed to help people rebuild their lives in the damaged areas.  Some of the supplies that might be needed: emergency Lego food, water, first aide, lumber, tools,  and rescue workers.

 All of the needed Legos and materials to complete the challenge, are in the container provided.

You have 40 minutes to design and build your projects. 


1 point earned for using Lego MBA techniques in your model.  
Total possible points for challenge  =  6 .

Alternative Uses (using a piece in a different way than its original use)

Micro build  Small Elements (making the best possible use of the smallest possible pieces)

Locking Technique (locking two or more bricks together with one that lies across them)

Sideways Building Technique (build out to add more details and shapes)

Symmetrical Building (building a mirror image that matches on both sides)

Completed drawing on Lego Brick Paper of your design.

Each team worked together to build their projects.  They took a few minutes to discuss their plan, and make their design drawings of their projects on Lego brick paper.

Then kids pared up on each team to build a segment of a rescue or supply vehicles ready to help serve the needs of the people hit by the tornado in Lego City.  Each team built three vehicles.

Team ONE (8 kids) built:


A rescue truck that brought in rescue workers and hauled supplies.  The truck was hauling tools, a wheel barrow, a fire man and had a crane for lifting heavy objects.

A rescue helicopter that could transport the injured or lift and move heavy objects.

Two ATV type vehicles that could help, one hauled the other vehicles and one vehicles was small and able to maneuver into tight places.


Team TWO (7 kids) built:

A rescue truck and loaded it with food, water, tools, and supplies.

A fire truck with tons of special features able to haul tools and able to provide assistance to rescue workers, and pull a trailer with a remote controlled roving robot to hunt for survivors.

A remote controlled roving robot that sent signals to the fire truck to let them know they have found someone buried under debrie and where to find them.



Next, the kids held a show and tell with their Lego MBA projects they have been working on.  Fourteen of the kids from our club participated in this today.  Each child took three minutes to tell us about their project.  I’ll showcase the show and tell from today in another story, as I have soooooo many pictures I have already posted in this story from today.

Finally, the kids ate refreshments and dismissed.  They had their choice of refreshments and shared cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, animal cookies, granola bars, juice, and water.  It was such a beautiful day, many kids played outside while parents visited after the meeting ended.

Through out the meeting several parents pitched in and helped.  Some brought refreshments to share.  

Several parents took turns holding and playing with my baby,  and helped monitor my toddler and preschooler, so I could teach the lessons.  Some of the parents assisted with the building competition, helping the kids work as a team.   After the meeting, parents helped clean and put away tables and chairs, and some helped watch the kids playing outside.  Evertything flowed smoothly, and I didn’t have to worry about it.  I was free to teach, take pictures, and able to focus on the tasks at hand.  I am thankful to have all of these wonderful families in our club.

I just love all these kids too.   We had 15 club kids present today plus 6 kids of various ages who are not in the club, and 10 parents.   That’s a whopping 21 kids!  All of these kids are just so cute!  So smart!  Each one is unique and special.  They are all so eager to learn.

But, one of our kid club members is absolutely refreshing to my soul.  He is always so loving and considerate of me and my family, and always has lots of questions.  His questions today were: “Miss Melinda, what does your baby eat?  When will he be big enough to eat food?  How old is he?  How long will he drink milk?  Here is some special water for you to help you baby after the meeting.”  I told him it was the sweetest most refreshing water we had ever had.  How thoughtful of him to think that I would be thirsty, or the baby would be thirsty.  Then he stumped me…  “Miss Melinda, if you drink all the water, how will your baby get the water?”  Oops, we will save that conversation for a future day, when his mom says its ok!

My kids were so excited coming home and that makes me happy. “Mom, why are you so happy? Mom, thanks for a great meeting today. Mom, can we do it again next week? Mom, we need to do Lego meetings everyday! Mom,…..?  Mom, …….?”

Ok, Ok, you get the point.  Kids just go on and on when they are excited.  Not only was it great for kids, but it was great medicine for mom too! Are parents supposed to enjoy Legos?  I mean uh, er, eh, are Legos supposed to lift the countenance of adults as it does for children? Could Legos be a remedy for various situations (boredom, sad, illness, loneliness, cabin fever, creative block, etc.)?  Well I think this is a subject to be explored some more!

Here it is a gorgeous spring day, the first day of spring as a matter of fact, and temperatures are 78 degrees and sunny.   Learning with Legos and playing with your friends on a day like today is a remedy!  You just have to smile.

Yes, Aaaaahhhhh, It was refreshing.   Yes, oooohhhh this mamma was so impressed with the creativity, the team work, the kindness, and the specialness of all these beautiful kids. 

Welcome SPRING!

This post will be linked up with:
No Time For Flash Cards
Kids Coop
Science Sunday
Sharing Time
ABC and 123

Please share.

Lego MBA Kit 2

Want a great product to spice up your homeschool learning?  I would recommend giving Lego MBA a try.  You can buy level 1 (kits 1-3) and level 2 (kits 4-6) for $99 plus shipping.  It equals 10 months of wholesome learning and creative fun.  It is a good deal.

There is a whole lot of learning taking place when students sit down to work through their Lego MBA.  All kinds of skills are learned and practiced using the Lego MBA product.  For example, gross and fine motor skills are used in the design phase and as bricks are connected and taken apart.  Some dis-connections require the use of the brick separator that we received in kit 1. 

Students also use and practice reading skills as they work their way through the design handbook.  Observation skills are put into practice as they take note of the steps to achieve the designs and implement the building process.  Math is used in counting, calculating, sorting (shapes, sizes, colors), and making patterns and spatial relationships.  Science and Technology are involved as the student creates models of products used everyday to meet needs in our everyday lives.  It is also used in hypothesizing the design of a model, then building it, then re-designing or changing areas of the model to be productive, such as opening a door with a hinge.  Creativity is involved in completing the design challenge phases of each kit. 

Perhaps in the future, we will extend our learning of various subjects and be inclined to include a Lego MBA building project in our unit studies too.  For example, it would be great fun to build the Spaceship model as we study traveling into space, or the Rocket model as we study flight, fuel, aerodynamics, and gravity, etc.

LEGO MBA Level 1 Kit 2

I am teaching three of my kids about design and engineering and furthering our STEM learning with the Lego MBA product this school year.  Their ages are 11, 9, and 7 years old. 

I am also teaching the Lego MBA and using various Lego projects to further learning and in our Lego and Robotics Academy 4H Club.  Many of the children in our club bring in their Lego MBA projects for show and tell.  We also have design challenges during some meetings.  We split the kids into two teams and give them a challenge to solve and build.  The teams get points for using the techniques they learned in Lego MBA.  I will write a story about this soon.

This is the third story in our Lego MBA series.  For a complete picture of what this program is all about, and how we are using it to further our learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), be sure to read all the related stories posted here and in our Lego and Robotics Academy 4H Club stories.

            Lego MBA
            Level 1 Kit 1
            Level 1 Kit 2
            Level 1 Kit 3
            Level 2 Kit 4
            Level 2 Kit 5
            Level 2 Kit 6

Kit 2 comes with a new set of 222 Lego bricks and shapes, mini figure accessories, and a new curriculum handbook. Projects in Kit 2 include Airport, Race Track, and a Shuttle Launch.


The theme in Kit 2 is Micobuild Designer. Microbuilding is the art of building in microscale; models are scaled down to a micro size. Most Lego models are built in a minifigure scale. But microscale is a tiny version of the minifigure model.

Each kit in the Lego MBA program builds on the learning methods of the previous kit. Check out the earlier stories to learn what vocabulary words, building and design techniques we learned before, and are continuing to use.

In Kit 2, the student learns additional techniques such as: “Size Scaling” taking something big and making it small; “Small Elements” using the smallest Lego shapes that can be used in various ways to make small details (ex. use 1 x 1 round plate for micro wheels, 1 x 1 clear plates for windows); “Moving Function” using a small hinge to allow movement; “Streamlined Surfaces” created by using flat tiles with no studs on top; “Building In Sections” to create sturdy and stable sections separately that you connect later in the building process.

Projects we completed in Level 1 Kit 2:

Project 1  Airport with an Airplane, Bus, and Loading Ramp.

Project 2   Race Track, Race Car

Here the 7 year old is working on his micro build race track.  He is super excited about building with his older brothers.

Project 3  Space Launch Center and Space Shuttle.  
                The shuttle is sitting on the launch pad.

Space Center after the shuttle launched.  The boys had so much fun playing with
each of these models they built.

Microbuild Design Challenge

The challenge in Lego MBA Kit 2 involves designing a minifigure scale model on brick paper, then reducing its size (scaling it down), to be a microbuild size

First, you think of something you want to build, such as a boat model or a plane.  Then on paper decide how many bricks wide it will be and design it.  Then reduce it by 1/2, or however much you want to reduce it.  So if it was 6 brick wide, perhaps now it is only 3 brick wide and you re-draw it on this smaller scale.  Then build it. 

Lego MBA gives an example of building a minifigure rocket and reducing it to a microscale model on Lego brick paper.  Their example started out as 27 squares long and 6 squares wide.  By reducing it to 1/3 of its original size, it becomes 9 squares long and 2 squares wide.

Here is the microbuild fighter jet my 11 year old son designed and built for this challenge. It was six studs long, and two studs wide for the body, two more studs long for the nose tip, and eight studs wide for the wings.  It was very tiny!

Here is a microbuild grain and bread factory designed by my 9 year old with help from the 11 year old.  It was a collaborative project.  I am amazed they did this.  It has a grain hopper, a factory, smoke stacks, loading docks, semi – trucks and a grain wagon to haul the grain to the factory and finished bread away from the factory.  Good job guys!

Thanks for joining us!

Be sure to read our next post in the Lego MBA series and find out what we are learning about in Lego MBA Level 1 Kit 3.

This post will be linked up with
ABC and 123
No Time For Flashcards
Sharing Time
Raising Homemakers

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Lego MBA

Learning With The Brick

We have been playing er I mean learning with Lego MBA for this entire school year.  Think Legos are just a toy? Well, let me set you straight! There is a whole lot you can do with this little plastic brick.

Yahoo! Thats awesome! HOLD THE PHONE….she said what????? She said “We have been learning with Lego MBA this entire school year!”

Yep!  Ya heard right!  We have been using various
Lego products to enhance our learning.  One really special product we included this school year was Lego MBA.

Legos have so many different products that it is almost mind boggling to wade through it all.  But don’t let it fool you just because it is on the toy isle.  No matter which Lego product you choose, each project comes with lots of construction bricks of different sizes, shapes, colors, and some have special features and mini figures.  And each project comes with blue prints. 

What can be more educational than being given a set of instructions and learning to follow it to recreate the project?  This is the basic process and understanding needed to replicate recipes, science experiments, learn spelling, take tests, and numerous other educational projects we give to kids. 

And then there is the aspect of being creative, just taking a bunch of parts and creating something amazing with them using your own ideas.  Again, another method we want kids to learn and we use this in engineering, design, inventions, entrepreneurship, writing stories, and so much more. 

Legos can actually help us teach these methods in a fun way and our kids will actually get better at this process and I believe will do better in life in the long run too. 

When my oldest son was turning 11, he asked if we could buy him the Lego MBA program for his birthday.  I do have some moral objections to some of the Lego products. My main objection to some of the Lego products is that I don’t want my kids to play with items that deal with sorcery and witchcraft.  So I like to look at things the kids want and pray about it before proceeding. 

After checking into it, Lego MBA seemed like it was a wholesome product and would be good for all the kids to learn.  We initially invested in the program for two of our kids, the 11 year old and the 9 year old. 

When the product started arriving, we were so impressed that we told several of our homeschool friends about it and started a club for everyone who wanted to join and do the Lego MBA with us.  Last July, we turned our club into the Lego and Robotics Academy 4H Club for kids ages 7-18.  You can read stories about our club here.

This January, my third son turned 7, and officially joined our 4H club.  He was overjoyed to finally be a member and get his very own Lego MBA kit.  Yes it is true, we now have three sons working through the Lego MBA program.

Lego MBA

Lego MBA stands for Lego Master Builder Academy.  It is a building program designed to help you understand the process of design and engineering with Legos. 

Lego MBA currently has two levels and includes a total of 6 kits.  Level 1 has 3 kits and Level 2 has 3 kits.  They are developing a Level 3 for this coming year, but we don’t have any details on it yet.

Lego MBA is available for sale in two parts from the Lego website.  You can purchase Level 1 kit 1 for $29 and then purchase the remaining products as a one time subscription which includes Level 1 kits 2-3 and Level 2 kits 4-6 for $69. 

This is how it works when you buy both parts.  Lego immediately mails kit 1 to you, then a month later they mail kit 2, then every other month they mail one of the remaining kits.  Altogether it takes about 10 months to complete the program.  If you purchase both parts together, the cost is $99 plus shipping.

Each kit comes with a book of curriculum and a building pack of bricks and special parts, and mini figure accessories. Each level also comes with a mini-figure.  Kit 1 comes with a special box and sorting tray that holds all the curriculum and parts.  Each time a new kit arrives, my kids pull out their box and add the new book and parts to it.  It is a handy place to store everything.

Each kit teaches new techniques in design and engineering. There are new vocabulary words and new techniques to practice.  There is also an online part of the program where kids complete a to-do list and receive a download printable diploma at the end of mastering each kit and the to-do list. 

Each kit builds three models and two challenge models. So that is about 30 models(18 teaching models learning techniques + 12 teaching creativity using the techniques) your child learns to build by the end of the program.

Check out this video about Lego MBA that I found on You Tube.

So I got this idea that maybe you would like to follow along and see the projects the kids make in their Lego MBA studies.  I don’t know why I didn’t think to publish these stories before.  I take pictures constantly of all the kids are doing.  Life just seems to have a way of happening and lots of my ideas and stories get set on the back burner.  I wish I had set up a plan to do this program with our readers, and your kids could have joined with us online as my boys built and learned with each kit.  But, I still think it is worth posting the stories and doing the kits again.   The 11 and 9 year olds are currently in kit 5 and the 7 year old is in kit 2 as I write this post.  But for the sake of writing these posts we will start again at the beginning.

I’ll post the stories, and link them here on this master list.  So join us won’t you?

Lego MBA
Level 1 kit 1
Level 1 kit 2
Level 1 kit 3  

Level 2 kit 4
Level 2 kit 5
Level 2 kit 6

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Lego and Robotics Academy: We Do

What a great meeting we had with the kids in our Lego and Robotics Academy 4 H Club for February.  The kids met for two hours to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) using Lego MBA, and Lego Education WeDo Robotics.

We started off with a short business meeting and announcements from our President age 11, Vice President age 10, Secretary Treasurer age 11, and Club Representative age 11.

Then we started our program for the day.  We introduced the Lego Education WeDo Robotics kit to the kids.  We went over vocabulary words we would be using today, and looked at pictures for the software commands. Then we looked at parts in our WeDo kit including bricks, gears, a motor, sensors, and more. 

One by one, we had several kids volunteer to come forward and build the model in the Lego Education WeDo Robotics “Getting Started” models.   We completed 5 of 20 of these beginning projects.

The kids learned about:
    1. Motor and Axle
    2. Gears
    3. Idler Gear
    4. Gearing Down
    5. Gearing Up

First, the volunteer built the model, then programmed the model to operate, then clicked start on the software so the model operated and followed the program. Then stop for it to stop.  All the kids answered math, science, and logic questions about the project. 

While I explained each concept of the lesson, and asked the kids questions, my son, age 11, helped each child find the parts in the kit and coached them how to build the model.  He also helped us operate the software for each project.

Next, we had Show and Tell.  The purpose of having Show and Tell is to support each child in what they are interested in, what they are learning and building with at home, to build their confidence, and practice skills with public speaking.  We ask them to speak for 3 to 5 minutes. 

I asked the kids to bring a project they have built.  I also asked them to use an index card to help them with their plan of what to say, and answer these questions to make their presentations:

        Your name?
        What model you brought today?
        What kit is it from? (Lego MBA currently has two levels and five kits)
        What skill or technique did you learn from building this project?
        Some children also added how they play with their creation.

The kids are not forced to do Show and Tell. It is optional and not all the kids participate. Some kids are excited to stand up and speak, others not so much. But as we progress in our learning, we will ask the kids to all participate so they all get practice at speaking in front of others.

Some of the projects shared today included:
Lego MBA airplanes

Lego MBA micro build airport, plane, bus, and loading conveyer.

Lego houses and Lego MBA airplane.

Lego MBA Fighter Ant and a high tech robot.

A mini construction site with dozer crane, work truck, wheel barrow, signs, and people.  

Lego MBA  TyRex

The kids did a great job showing their models, speaking to the audience, and explaining what building skills they learned or techniques they used to create their projects.

Also one of the parents brought a Lego NXT Rattle Snake robot to Show and Tell.

This thing was amazing.  He preprogrammed it at home and downloaded the program into the memory of the robot. 

He pushed a button to activate the program, and the rattle on the tail shook as a warning.  Then, when its eyes sensed motion, the snake sprung forward and striked at the motion it sensed.  Very cool. 

We had to be careful as some of the younger children were really excited and would get to close to the snake robot and not realize it could bump into them when it leaped forward.  It would not hurt them, but it might hurt the snake robot if it got caught on their clothes or was bumped to hard.  But with a few reminders, we got the kids to refrane from grabbing or damaging the robot.  WHEW!

Then we had refreshments.  The kids all washed their hands and took a seat. 

The parents passed out sliced oranges, whole clementines, sliced cheddar cheese, juice pouches, and water bottles.

Then all the kids and parents pitched in to clean up, and fold and put away tables and chairs.  Then we said our goodbyes until next time. 

My kids love learning at these meetings and getting together with their friends in our 4H club.
Plus an added bonus, some kids stay around a little longer and play on the playground.  
Today they played tag, hide and seek, and flew a kite while the paren
ts visited.

Check out more of our Lego Stories from the categories listed below, and I will be adding more stories to these links as we do more:

Lego MBA 

Lego WeDo

Lego and Robotics Academy


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We Do Lego Education


My kids are getting a double dose of a great STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics learning program.  I am teaching a local Lego and Robotics Academy 4H club with my kids and several other families.   Each month our families get together to learn about STEM through fun hands on activities with Legos and Robots.

We recently started using a kit called Lego Education We Do. It is a beginning Robotics program.   We were able to order the complete kit (W991527) with the parts, software, curriculum $199.95, and the complete set of additional extension curriculum too (W991837) $179.95   thanks to a donation from one of our club members who recently won product credit in a Lego Education contest and generously donated some of their winnings (see the story here about their family and the video).

By teaching the class,  my kids get to be my guinea pigs so to speak.  I am teaching them as a proto type I guess so I can work out the kinks in my lessons, and my program can flow smoothly during the 4H meetings.  So my kids are getting to learn it at home as well as in our 4H club as I prepare the lessons for the class.

My kids anxiously await the opening of the kit.

Though the kit is small, there is an amazing amount of learning that can be done with it.   It comes with curriculum, software, and the box filled with parts.   Besides Lego building bricks, some of the other parts in the box are a motor, tilt sensor, motion sensor, USB hub. 

You can buy the items separately or buy them as a whole kit.  The whole kit (box of parts, curriculum, and software) comes with everything you need except a computer.   There is also an extension set of curriculum and activities you can buy to extend the learning after you master the first set of curriculum.   

The initial kit is designed to build  20 “Getting Started” lessons, and 12 robotic models in four themes (three in each theme). 

Amazing Mechanisms (focusses on physical science):
    Dancing Birds
    Drumming Monkey
    Smart Spinner

Wild Animals (focusses on technology):
    Hungry Alligator
    Roaring Lion
    Flying Bird

Play Soccer (focusses on mathematics):
    Goal Kicker
    Goal Keeper
    Cheerful Fans

Adventure Stories (focusses on language, drama, and answers questions of WHO, WHAT, WHEN, AND WHY):
    Airplane Rescue
    Giant Escape
    Sailboat Storm

Getting Started

Basically, before building in the theme models, there is a series of 20 “Getting Started” models that are very simple steps to introduce the kids to various concepts. 

In the beginning “Getting Started” exercises, you build a model of a basic drawing, and practice programming the software to tell the model (motor and brick parts) what to do, and make observations of what happened.  Each lesson builds on the foundation of the next, so the kids are understanding how each part worked that was built upon the last part.

In the simplest of explanations, the software is a set of computer commands that display in blocks on the computer screen.   They are basically drag and drop into place concept.  For example, to command the motor to move, you drag and drop into place the block that looks like the motor on the screen.  Tell it how many seconds you want it to turn.  Which way you want it to turn.  If you want it to pause.  If you want music or sound effects to play.  If you want additional things such as it to sense movement or sense tilt before or after it moves, etc.   

When we first opened the kit, we familiarized ourselves with the different vocabulary, the various parts, and the software.  Then we completed 1-10 of the 20 “Getting Started” lessons.

Here are just a few selected examples of the lessons to tell you about things we learned.  I won’t write about every lesson, but here are a few tidbits from a couple of the lessons.  The lessons are much longer than what I have written here and fill a page with what to do and questions and answers.

Lessons 1-10:

1) Motor and Axle
    Connecting the motor and axle together.  Then connecting the motor to the usb hub.  Then 
    connect the usb hub to the computer.  Move the blocks on the computer screen to show:
    start; turn motor this way; and stop the motor.   Then the kids explain what happened and
    what they observed, and learn why it happened.

2) Gears

3) Idler Gear

4) Gearing Down (slowing down the movement by using a small gear on the axle and a large gear).
    Build the model shown in the diagram.  Program the motor to start; and turn 10 rotations; and stop.  The smaller gear turns fast in one direction. The large gear turns slower in the opposite direction.  The larger gear turns slower because it only turns part of one rotation for every rotation the smaller gear turns.  The small gear has 8 teeth.  The large gear has 24 teeth.  The small gear must turn three rotations to turn the large gear 1 rotation.

5) Gearing Up ( speeding up the movement by using a large gear on the axle and a small gear).

6) Tilt Sensor (causes a pause in the motor while waiting for a tilt in a certain direction).

7) Pulleys and Belt
    Build the model with the various parts shown in the diagram, including adding the pulleys and belt.  Program the motor to turn.  The motor turns the axel, turns the pulley, the pulley turns the belt, the belt turns the se
cond pulley.  This is called a belt drive.

8) Crossed Belt

9) Decrease Speed (slowing down movement by using a small pulley on the axel, a belt, and a large pulley). 

10) Increase Speed (speaking up by using a large pulley on the axel, a belt, and a small pulley).
    Build the model shown on the diagram.  Program the software to start the motor; how long to run the motor; play a sound effect, stop the motor.   These pulleys are moving in the same direction, and speed increases because the small pulley turns faster than the large pulley.

This is truly a great product to learn with.  It is simple step by step instructions, questions to test understanding, and clearly identified learning objectives.  I am very pleased with the quality of this curriculum.

My kids are excited too.  Lego makes learning fun.  You are playing and learning at the same time.  Lego Education We Do is a fun way to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  

I can’t wait to do these lessons next week with the kids in our club. 

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
Raising Homemakers
ABC and 123 

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Legos & Blessing Bags & Christmas

This holiday season, we wanted to teach the kids in the Lego and Robotics Academy that it is a blessing to be a blessing.  We decided to build blessing bags during our Christmas party to give away to those in need in our community.  In this way we hoped to show the kids that Christmas is about giving.  We want the kids to know that helping people in our community is important.

Lego and Robotics Academy is a 4H club made up of homeschool families in our community.  We get together each month to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  We are a fairly new club and have been meeting for 7 months now.  Today is a big step in coming together to do something important for someone else.

Each family donated items for our bags and brought it to our Christmas party.  The bags that we used to hold everything, were two gallon ziploc plastic bags. We wrote a blessing on the front of each bag with a permanent marker.

We set up the kids in an assembly line at long tables to fill the bags. This helped to maintain organization. 

Each child had an item to be responsible for, a “job” as my daughter called it.  We lined groups of items up on tables and had the kids stand in front of their special group of items.

Then each child placed the items that they were responsible for into the blessing bag.  Finally they passed the bag onto the next person for the process to be repeated.

Items we put into the bag today were:

hand warmers
kleenix tissues
tooth paste
tooth brush
plastic silverware
cheese crackers & peanut butter
granola bar
vienna sausages
bottle water

Several of our club members were not able to attend today.  But the kids still managed to build 24 blessing bags to hand out.  Each family took several bags home to disperse on their own.  Some carried the bags in their car and gave them out to people in need they met on the street.  Some took their bags to a local shelter.  Some took their bags to a church ministry that gave them to people in need. 

Each family was welcome to add more items into their bags before delivering them.  We left some extra room in the bags for this purpose and incase the person receiving the bag needed to add something of their own to it to keep it dry or protected.  Our family also added more items that we wanted to give.  The kids thought about it and chose a few additional items to make their bag complete.

Suggestions for additional items include:

soup in easy open cans
fruit in easy open cans
another bottle of water
liquid soap
wash cloth
protein bars
meat jerky
thin blanket
pillow case
gift cards for bus, coffee, meals, etc.
MRE meals
dehydrated vegetables and foods
dehydrated soup
vitamin C
jars of peanut butter
small pop-up tent
rain poncho
mini camp stove
paper and pens
rolls of quarters
laundry soap
salt and pepper
Card or note of encouragement

Suggestions for other types of bags to hold items are back packs, duffle bags, carts with wheels, suit case with wheels.  Also bags of groceries are nice blessing bags too.  If you are blessing a child with a bag, leave out the items such as matches or lighters and vitamins, and instead add a stuffed animal, coloring book, and school supplies.  Trident gum would be nice to include too.

To further our learning and appreciation of this special opportunity, we also had a discussion about why folks might end up in need this holiday season.

The kids were asked to share their ideas about why folks were in need.  Some of the reasons they shared were:

Loss of job
Physical Illness
Mental Illness
Cold Weather
Weather Emergency (Tornado, Hurricane, etc.)
Poor Quality Housing
Lack Of Transportation (no car, no money to fix broken car, no money for gas or insurance).
No Money To Pay For Things
No Food
Crime In Neighborhood
Been A Victim
Death Of A Loved One
Run Away
Family Fight

There were so many reasons folks could find themselves in need.  We should not be judgemental or criticize people who have less or who have more than we have.  We should bless others and give as we are able to.  We prayed over our bags that they would be a blessing to whomever received them.

After our blessing bag activity, we enjoyed a fun time celebrating Christmas together with a party of refreshments and goodie bags for the kids.

All of the families pitched in to help make this party a fun time for the children.  The children helped set up the tables and chairs before the meeting today.  The food table was decorated with a lighted tree, red table cloth, and looked very festive.

One of the moms made these fun Lego heads for the kids to eat.  These were made from marshmallows on a popcycle stick, dipped in white chocolate with yellow food coloring added, and faces piped onto them.  She covered a box with wrapping paper to look like a present and stuck the popcycle sticks in to it to hold them upright.

There were a variety of sandwiches, chips, dips, vegies, and fun lego candy.  The candy looks just like Lego bricks and was available at the local Ingles grocery stores. It tastes like sweet tarts, and it stacks together like legos.

The kids really enjoyed their Christmas party, building the blessing bags, and playing with their friends.

One of the families made goodie gift bags, and everyone had a Christmas goodie bag to take home and enjoy. 

After the party, the kids helped clean up the room and put away all the tables and chairs.  Then several kids enjoyed a game of tossing a football and playing tag outside. 

 It was a beautiful day even in December. We have not had snow and for the most part our winter weather has been very mild. The kids enjoy playing outside every chance they get.

1 Corinthians 9:23

“I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
ABC and 123
Raising Homemakers

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Lego and Robotics Academy

What a great time we had today at our 4H Club, Lego and Robotics Academy meeting for October.

We started off with a short business meeting.  The key officers involved in leading the business meeting are the President, Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer and they keep the club up to date.  By having officers, the kids are learning about how to conduct a meeting, democracy, and aspects of civil participation.

After their announcements, we had a time of answering questions about the Lego MBA project kits the kids are working at home on.  Everyone is doing great learning about engineering and design with their kits.

Next, we had a great presentation.

A homeschool Dad in our club, Chris Capps, taught us about Stop Animation movie making using Legos.

He gave a wonderful presentation to the kids covering areas such as:

  • Who is the star of your movie?
  • Tools used to make the movie?
  •         Camera, Tripod, Computer, Software, Lighting, Legos, Props
  • Setting the stage:
  •         Lego plates, card board, scenes, 
  • Moving your character:
  •         Walking, running, jumping, flying, turning heads, moving arms
  • Making character’s talk:
  •         Using Lego heads with different faces
  •         Using Lego heads with two faces
  •         Using software to sync the voice to mouth movements
  • Story Boarding:
  •         Using sketches to create your story
  • Looping:
  •         Using footage over
  • Sound effects:
  •         Using sound software
  •         Microphone on the computer
  • Using software to edit pictures
  • Using software to put the movie together

He showed the kids how to make a simple scene using two Lego plates hooked together, a Lego figure, and a few Lego bricks.

He also showed the kids how to make some simple customizations, such as a costume for this Goliath.

He has made several of these movies and has uploaded them on to You Tube.  Here is a recent movie he made using stop animation and Legos.  Be sure to check out his other movies  on his You Tube channel too. 

After the Stop Animation presentation, the kids had a time of refreshments.  A couple of the families brought in delicious goodies to share with the club.  One family brought yummy pumpkin cupcakes in honor of their son’s birthday.  There was also cookies, juice boxes, and goody bags for everyone.  I wanted to say thank you to those families who shared snacks with us.  Refreshments seem to make everything we do more fun!
Next, we had Show and Tell.  Show and Tell is optional, but really promotes skills in public speaking and communication.  It also helps to build confidence in the kids.  

The kids can bring in things to share if they want to.  They can share kits they have worked on, imaginative play structures they have created, books, or any project they are interested in and want to talk about.  Several of the kids will bring in their challenge projects they did from their Lego MBA kits too.  Each child is given 3-5 minutes to share their special project with the group.

Some of the things the kids shared for Show and Tell this month included:

Flying space ships.

Balance scales.  All the kids do great, but I just have to brag a little on this project from the show and tell.  This fella did such a great job coming up with this project.  He took equal numbers of bricks to build each side, and it was completely equally balanced.  He had a bucket on each side of the balance and he demonstrated adding loose objects into these buckets to balance the scales.  The scales worked perfectly.

Book on how to customize Lego characters.  This is really interesting.  There is a whole world of customization out there.  Who knew?  This book teaches great techniques for kids and adults to learn how.

Micro building semi truck, trailer, and helicopter.

Space Ship, Micro Build Robot, Lava Monster, and an Ice Dragon.

It never ceases to amaze me what they have been building over the past month since we were last together.  Their imaginations soar!

The purpose of this club is to further the understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM initiative) for kids in our local area.  We are using Legos and Robotics to achieve our goals.  We currently meet once a month for two hours.  We hope to meet more often during the month starting next spring.  We recently acquired the use of a building to hold our meetings in rather than just meeting in the park picnic shelter.  Now we are ready to really start designing and constructing our robots and more.  You can see more stories about the Lego and Robotics Academy here.

If you would like to donate any Legos, Robots, or donations to our club to help us further our cause of promoting the STEM initiative and 4H, please contact me by leaving a comment and I will get in touch.  Donations are appreciated.

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
Raising Homemakers
Play Academy

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