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.
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