Category Archives: Lego WeDO

Lego Adventures At Homeschool Coop

David and Goliath Lego Adventures at Homeschool Coop.

We had a great time learning about robotics, physics, faith, and retelling a story using Legos at homeschool coop.

David and Goliath with Legos

I chose the bible passage of 1 Samuel 17 for our lesson. This bible passage is about David going to visit his brothers who were in the Israelite Army. They were on the front lines in a battle against the Philistines. The Philistine Army had a warrior named Goliath. He was a giant of a man standing very tall and he was very strong and covered in metal plated armour, and no-one could defeat him in battle. He often said bad things to the Israelite Army and made fun of their God. He challenged them to a fight and if they could defeat him, his army would be their slaves, but if he defeated the Israelite who fought him, then the Israelite Army would be the slaves of the Philistines. David overheard this challenge and the horrible things Goliath said against God. David saw that everyone in the army was afraid, but he was not afraid and knew God would help him defeat the enemy of Israel and the enemy of God. David accepted the challenge to fight Goliath. He trusted in the Lord to help him. He chose five flat stones from a river bed and put one of the stones in his sling, swung it around, and let the stone go into the air. He had learned to fight off animals like wolves, lions, and bears that tried to attack his flock of sheep so he was very good with the sling shot. The stone hit Goliath in the forehead and killed him. David had trusted in God to deliver him from Goliath, and he defeated the enemy of Israel and the enemy of God.

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The kids used Lego’s to retell the story. We also set up a robotic Goliath with Lego WeDo. The Goliath robot is built with Legos, pulley gears, worm gear, lever, motor, axle, and movable joints. The kids programmed the computer software program to tell Goliath to stand up and to sit / fall down. They can time his movements and change the speed, as well as program sound effects. They had Goliath stand up and growl his threats to the Army, programmed the sound of David, and his stone hitting Goliath, and then also programmed cheering by the Army after Goliath is hit with the stone and falls forward.  It is really neat how you can program sound effects to go along with the robot’s movements.

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Everyone took turns manipulating the computer software and retelling the story with Legos.  They also take apart the giant and rearrange the location of motorized lever attachment to learn how placing this in different positions, and rearranging the software commands caused the giant to move (or not move). They could re-engineer the set up and try out different ideas. They also completed a coloring page about the battle between David and Goliath and a vocabulary word puzzle.

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We also did some physics science in the gym.  We used rubber bands for sling shots. We used a large basket placed several feet away on the floor as the target.  We took different kinds of balls (cotton, pompoms, foam, and rubber) to learn what materials would be more accurate to hit a target.  The kids learned about trajectory, mass, stored energy, kinetic energy, and how to aim at a target.  They learned that the more dense their ball was, and the further back they pulled their sling shot, the better and faster the object was able to hit the target.   The kids also spent time playing in the gym.  They played basketball, tag, hide and seek, and raced each other all around.  The gym is such a great place to do a variety of learning, skill building, and physical activities.

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Logos are a great teaching / learning tool that can be used in so many fun ways.  I love teaching and learning with Legos.  I have taught Lego and Robotics Academy Club and several workshops with homeschool and 4H kids in North Carolina for several years, and I have missed it terribly since moving last summer.  I hope in the near future I will be able to host Learn It Build It workshops again in the community, and also start a Lego and Robotics club again and perhaps eventually have teams that can compete in First Lego League.  But right now, started a new class called Lego Adventures and I am blessed the local homeschool coop has invited me to teach these great kids,  and we can learn about science-technology-engineering, and robotics, and use bible stories to build their faith in the Lord.  Be sure to check back each month for more Lego Adventures.

Be blessed!

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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

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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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