Category Archives: Lego

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

Please share.

Lego Animation Getting Started

Well the animation bug has bit my household.  My kids love playing, constructing, story telling, and creating with Legos.    I love teaching the kids with Legos too.  We can do so many different things with it.  Legos is such a versatile medium to work with.   Lego animation just seemed to have a natural progression and attraction for this Lego loving family.

Though we have used Legos for many years, I am new to the Lego movie seen.  There are hundreds of Lego movies posted on You Tube. We are somewhat overwhelmed by the popularity, and technical skill required of this hobby.  But the kids really like these movies.

A few special events this past year really sparked my family’s interest in it.  Last fall we went to a movie premiere of Jericho.  You can read about this great movie and see some movie clips
here .

Then some friends in our local homeschool group, who are also in our 4H club entered a Lego video contest and won with a Lego animated movie. They did a great job making their movie and have made several more. The dad also gave our 4H club a presentation on making lego animation. You can read about it and see the video

So my older two boys, ages 11 and 9, have been bitten by the animation bug, and decided they wanted to learn to make Lego movies. The oldest already draws his own Lego cartoons every chance he gets and loves to tell stories with them.  Both boys can literally get lost in the make believe land of Legos for hours at a time.  So we set out to expand our skills, explore the world of stop motion, and make a simple video to “get our feet wet” so to speak.

Each boy made a movie using the same props. This is just a test run to learn some basic things involved in making this type of video. We had a simple scene of roads, traffic (cars, trucks, and semi trucks), stop lights, and people crossing the road all built out of Lego bricks. 

Here is the video made by the 11 year old.

Here is the video made by the 9 year old.

I thought the boys did great for their first time to ever do this.   Now that they have tried this out, we want to learn more.   We want to learn how to make the frames flow together smoothly.  How to time the frames.  How to do facial animations.  How to do special effects.  How to put voice and sound effects with the pictures, etc.

Thankfully, we know someone to ask, Chris Capps.   He is the same homeschool dad who gave the Lego Stop Animation presentation to our 4H club.  He has co-authored a book to help you learn how to do stop animation with Legos and Clay. 

It is a 53 page downloadable e-book titled The Animator Inside Of You.  It is on Amazon as a Kindle download and the price is just $4.93

We will be talking with Chris Capps, reading his book, writing a review, and making improvements to our video so you can see a before and after.  

Stay tuned!

Please share.

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


Please share.

Lego Valentine

What’s RED, WHITE, and PINK, is fun to stick together, build with, and says super sweet things? 
It’s Valentines made with Legos of course!

The kids had so much fun creating Valentines with their Legos. 

Little sister, age 4, sorted all the pink, red, and white Lego bricks we had.  We had several pink bricks because she loves pink, and has a few kits for a princess.  This came in real handy! 

In addition to sorting these three colors from a bucket full of other colors, she also had fun picking them up by the handful and letting them fall into the sorting tray like a waterfall.  She loves to feel them, and to hear the thunk thunk sound as she drops them and they hit together.  She also practiced counting.  She can count all the way to 30 with no problem, and all the way to 100 with very little help.

Brother, age 9, wanted to write a special message.  He considered poems such as “Roses Are Red….” but considering all the work he would have to do, he decided on a much simpler idea. 

I thought his idea was great! 

He made a two dimensional message and heart with Lego bricks. 

After writing/building his message, he added some fun things like a pink and white airplane, and a little valentine playground he said.

Older brother, age 11, wanted a three dimensional message and decided to make it a stand up heart.

He made each half the same as the other half.  He said,” look Mom, both halves are symmetrical.”  Ok, I was really proud of his use of the term all on his own!

And I was really proud of the Lego Valentines they made me!  And the box of chocolates, and the chocolate rose was terrific too.  I love chocolate! 

What mom wouldn’t be proud of a special Valentine message like this?  I just love the Lego Valentines the kids made for me. 

I thought of some fun things to say to my kids, but I did not have the time to build them out of Legos.

“Valentine, we really stick together.”

“You make me click.”

“Stuck on you”

and several more. 

Maybe next year I can surprise them with a Lego Valentine from Mom.  I’ve got 365 days left to think on it.

                                              Happy Valentines Day

This post will be linked up with

No Time for Flash Cards
Play Academy
ABC and 123
Raising Homemakers

Please share.

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 

Please share.

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

Please share.

Birthday Pizza and Legos

Our second son turned 9 recently.  We usually try to plan a family trip or vacation around his birthday.  In the past, we have taken him to the aquarium in Newport KY, to the aquarium in Gattlinburg TN, to towns we have never been to before and done something special like see civil war things or ride around town in a horse and carriage, and last year we took him to the ocean near Charleston SC, and to a swamp see a live alligator in its natural environment. 

But this year, I am nine months pregnant, and funds are very tight, we did not get to plan a vacation.  So we chose to stay close to home and celebrate his birthday.  He decided he would like to go to Chucke Cheese for pizza, and he really wanted a new Lego set for his birthday.

Chucke Cheese offers a great program where they email you birthday coupons for free tokens and discounts for celebrating birthdays at their resturaunt.  This makes the adventure to Chucke Cheese very affordable to celebrate a special occasion, especially when you have a large family.

With special discounts, we were able to get two large hamburger and cheese pizzas, drinks, and over 100 game tokens.  This provided the 5 kids and us parents with almost three hours of food and entertainment with lots of fun arcade games that they rarely have played, maybe twice in their life  (We did this almost a year ago with our six year old son’s birthday, and we went once three years ago too).   Without the special discounts, we would not have been able to take him there this year. 

Some of the games are great skill builders.  Some games are great for eye hand coordination too.   Many of the games also print out tickets as you score points, and in turn, you can take the tickets and cash them in for prizes up at the counter. 

Some lower prizes are things like bugs, rings, tops, cars, candy, etc.  Some higher scoring prizes are stuffed animals, board games, and project kits.   My kids love feeding the tickets into the ticket counting machine.  They also love redeeming the reciepts for a prize.  Someday, I hope to implement something similar for chores, do this chore, earn a ticket, redeem X number of tickets for a prize.   Someday.

If you want to spend a little more money, you can host a large birthday party with friends with pizza, cake, goodie bags, and a special opportunity to see a Chucke Cheese show and do much more for lots of friends.  But we did not do that.

There are free things to do too, such as the indoor playground in the first picture above.    My kids love playing on this playground.  It has so many tunnels and places to hide, and fun slides to escape down, etc.  It really is a lot of fun for kids.

Next,  we headed to the other side of town to let him pick out his Lego kit.  We went to Toys R Us and they were having a special sale on Lego’s and a free special Lego building project right in the middle of the store.  Wow.  He felt so blessed to get to do this on “HIS” special birthday.  He just beemed with joy.

The kids lined up and were given  a small ziploc bag to place Lego pieces in.  The boxes were labled with how many pieces of each item were needed. 

Then the kids moved to another table where they followed a set of directions and used the pieces in thier bags to build a car. 

They were able to keep the car they built and take it home to play with.

The next day, our birthday boy built his new Lego project.  Lots of Lego cars from the movie Cars.

And then he played with it most of the day, and nearly everyday since.

We enjoyed cake and ice cream at home.  We made his cake and celebrated together. 
Happy 9th Birthday son!

Please share.

Robots and Birthdays

My oldest son turned 11 this past week.   It seems like just yesterday that he was a newborn baby in my arms.  My whole life has centered around him and his siblings every since the day I first laid eyes on this baby boy eleven years ago.

He loves everything about robots and space.   For his birthday, we bought him a telescope and the Lego Master Builder Academy (MBA) kits.  One of the kits discusses the process of building robots, and one of the kits in the series builds space ships.  The Lego MBA is being shipped and will be here in a few days.  Lego only started shipping this new product in June, and though we pre-ordered it before his birthday, we knew it would not arrive in time.  He also was going to go out of town to Indiana to visit a cousin graduating high school.   So we plan to have a birthday party for him next week, and enjoy his be-lated gifts.  We are also planning to take him to a science museum to learn more about robots in space next weekend.    

Another exciting development is starting a lego club with several local homeschool boys and girls who all plan to go through the MBA kits too.  My son is excited about this new adventure, and the fun will last for the entire upcoming year as we study these subjects with the club.  You can read stories about the Lego and Robotics Academy 4H Club posted on this website.  We will also do a space unit study and a robot unit study to enhance what he is learning.

A while back, I had gotten him a STRUXX  Robotics building kit.  It builds 4 different robotic models.  He looked it over one afternoon, chose the model he wanted to build, and started to build it.  But about 30 minutes into the process of sorting his pieces and becoming familiar with the building manual, he quit.  That was just not like him at all.  He is normally very patient and loves to learn new and complicated things.  But on this day, he was frustrated and set it aside for several months.  I guess it was more challenge than he was up to at the time.  He first thought one of the key parts was missing, and after searching for it for a half-hour or so, he lost heart and he just gave up.

This week, for his birthday, he pulled it out again and built the entire 625+ piece robot in just under 6 hours.  Its main components of the structure are the long rods and small ball and socket joints that make up the whole body.  The actual motor comes pre-assembled, so it is just a matter of attaching it.  There is a pulley system to be attached also, which the motor moves to operate the movement of the head.  There is also a control center to be attached on the head which sends a remote signal to the motor to turn the head and controls a pre-recorded growl of a dinosaur and other sound effects, and controls the eyes lighting up.

Once he broke it down into manageable sections (head, tail, legs and feet, hands, body), he made quick progress of the building kit.

This is a wonderful product for following a sequence of steps to get a desired outcome.  It was also great for eye hand coordination, matching and recognition of pieces, logic, and reading.   I love providing him with hands on opportunities like this.  Kits like this are great for making learning fun.

He had to follow the blue prints in the manual exactly to build each component.

As he completed one set of steps, he would set that section aside and begin the next set of steps.  His confidence grew with each section he completed.

He set his own goal with this, and wanted to complete it before Dad got home from work.  I never imagined he would do this project all in one day.

After he built the different body parts, he joined them together.  He was thrilled when it was time to put the head on this monster.

But this part took more strength and was more awkward than he had planned.  As you hold it up, it has to snap into the ball and socket joints exactly.  The head was slightly complicated to attache, and he felt some pressure to get it right, as it is what the robotics operate and must be correctly matched up.

Next came the process of hooking up the robotic components to the dinosaur structure.  You can see how serious he was in learning how this mechanism worked and hooking it up correctly to the structure and to the pulley system that operates the movements.

“Be afraid, be very afraid.”  This is a monster! 
It can growl, turn its head, chomp its teeth, and its eyes light up to be very scary.

Thankfully, Daddy got home just in time to save us all from being eaten by this ferocious monster T-Rex. 

Dad was very proud of our son’s accomplishment too.  Our boy is really growing up.

Happy 11th birthday little man.  You did a great job building this robotic dinosaur and I can’t wait to see what you will build next.  You are a great helper, you are smart, and handsome too.  Most importantly, you love Jesus.   Daddy and I are very proud of the wonderful young man you are.  We love you.

Keep in touch, subscribe by email, google friend connect, or face book networked blogs and watch for the latest updates in our upcoming Robot Unit Study and all of our homeschooling adventures.

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

Please share.