Category Archives: 4H Lego and Robotics Acad…

Lego Fundraiser

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 Fundraiser

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

Raffle Tickets & Donations

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!


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Lego and Robotics Academy May 2012

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. 

        “When I asked for your help, you answered my prayer and gave me courage.” Psalm 138:3

My 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.

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:

  • the flag of the country they represented,
  • located their country on a globe,
  • learned about flags that are used in actual races, flags send signals to drivers on a race track,
  • followed directions / blueprints to build a race car
  • took turns and shared responsibilities
  • air pressure / air power
  • how to measure distance
  • how to find the average of three distances
  • raced to find out what car had the best design for reaching the farthest distance
  • how to make / engineer modifications to change the desired outcome

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?

  • Friction slows the car down.  Cars that have less friction go farther.  Areas the car experienced friction include wheels, air, and the force of gravity.
  •  Variations in the person pushing the stomper for air pressure to send the car forward. Some pushed the stomper harder than others.
  • Variations in the stomper and connection to the car.  Wind power was generated by air under pressure from the stomper.  Some connections moved and separated smoothly and some were tight causing additional friction and loss of power.
  • Variations in the friction of air moving against the vehicle.  Some vehicle shapes are more aerodynamic than others.  As more of the front of the car hits the air, it captures it as it tries to travel through, and the air slows it down.  Shape is very important.  If less of the shape in front of the car captures air, the car will not be slowed down by the air. 
  • Weight ratio compared to the size of the car can give it more momentum or less momentum. 
  • The more decorative extra pieces on a car, such as fancy bumper, extra hight, etc. might slow the car down if it is too heavy or if its grabs the wind.  Either situation can cause more friction and more pull from gravity.

What signals or message do the different color flags used during a race tell or communicate to the race car drivers and their team?
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.
Average distance
Air power
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.

Bible Verse:
“I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful.”   2 Timothy 4:7

Looking Ahead:

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. 
Stay tuned……………. 

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
Science Sunday
Raising Homemakers
Sharing Time


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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 Movie Premiere

The Asheville Lego Club organized for a movie premiere of Jericho, and we were invited to join them at the viewing.

JERICHO: The Promise Fulfilled 

Three homeschool families from our Henderson County Lego and Robotics Academy club were able to attend.  The event was held in a church gym in Asheville.  The movie was set up on a big screen in the gym.   Folks sat in chairs, bleachers, and many late comers had to stand off to the side too.  This photo shows about half of the people that were in attendance, and it was a really good turn out.

Also set up around the room on tables, were the scenes and props used to make the movie.

My kids were fascinated with the movie scenes.

Before and after the movie, the family who produced the movie answered questions from the crowd.   Their discussion was jam packed with information.   And the mom gave a wonderful testimony about God’s grace in her life.

The family who produced the movie is a homeschool family from Charlotte, NC.   When their son was a young child, he was diagnosed with ADHD.  After a few years of frustration working with the school system, they decided to start homeschooling him in 3rd grade.   He was only interested in Lego’s and no amount of curriculum programs helped him.  After much prayer, his mom started teaching all his school work with Legos.   He learned all his subjects through hands on creating with lego bricks.   It is truly an amazing story and testimony.

To meet these individuals, you would never even know he had difficulties or severe ADHD or the struggle their family endured for many years.   Now, he and his sister have graduated from homeschooling, and have gone on to be successful movie producers using Legos to tell biblical stories.  They have traveled around the country for the past five years or more.  They have also met some other famous movie directors such as the creator of Facing The Giants and more.  The skills God has given them has opened many doors of opportunity for them.

Jericho is the awesome biblical story of how the Lord helped the Israelites conquer their enemy.   The Lord told the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho 7 times and then give a victory shout and the walls of the city crumbled to the ground giving the Israelites military success to defeat their enemy.  Jericho was their third movie production.  It took them 1 1/2 years to produce it.

The movie was filled with both serious moments and humorous moments.  My children loved the production, and the bible came to life for them using the Lego figures.
I am excited about what this company is doing to further the reach of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.  I am thrilled with their ability to take a product like Lego, and use it for the Lord.  Children all over the world will be able to hear and understand the biblical message through this wonderful method of telling the everyone about God’s love for mankind.

If you would like to learn more about these movies and this ministry, check out the Shaterpoint Entertainment website at
where you can buy the movies on line, buy their curriculum online to learn how to make these kinds of movies yourself, and make donations to their ministry.

To view free trailers of their movies, check out their website, or these You Tube videos

Jericho (most recent movie from this past year)

Wars Of Humanity

Wars Of Humanity II

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Sharing Time

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