Lego and Robotics Academy

We are having a great time in our Lego and Robotics Academy Club.   Today’s post is about our September meeting.  We currently have 18 kids and we meet once a month for a 2 hour meeting.  Our goal is to further the STEM Initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathmatics) with children in Western North Carolina.    If you would like to read other stories about our club, check out the posts here.

We hope to open the group to about 30 kids before next summer, in addition to hosting community workshops and educational outreaches, and possibly work with about 60 kids on an ongoing basis when the resources allow.  The workshops and educational outreaches would work with up to 300 kids for an afternoon, or a week of afternoons, a few times a year.   We want to create a First Lego League Team and be a host site for competitions too.  This is a big goal and we need a lot of donations for resources to make it happen.

This is such a great group of kids.  It would be even better to meet with these kids every week, rather than just once a month, and have an even greater impact on their learning when we get more resources in place.  But I am enjoying the monthly meetings too.  Families have a lot of demands on them, and meeting once a month at this time seems to fit the best in their schedules.

We have met several times in the park under the picnic shelter, but recently secured a building we will be meeting in soon.

Today the kids elected officers for the club, and we set up some committees.  Then we had a program using some robots and a show and tell time with Legos. 

Our club is in need of Legos Education Products.   It will take about $12,000 to get us in a full swing educational program.  Each of the categories listed here provide materials and curriculum for 24 students.   We would have several of our kids share the resources so that hopefully we can meet the academic learning needs of 60 kids on a regular basis.  

Our current wish list includes several kits so that there is enough to go around.  Ideally, if we can raise the funds to buy what we need, groups of 2-6 kids would share a kit. Here is our 2011 goals & funding needs:
1) Start with the Lego Education We Do Robotics $3,706.95 
2) We need a few of the Intell Convertable PC $599.00  
2) Then progress to the Legos Mindstorms Education Robotics Engineering II $5,888.95 
3) We would like to do the Renewable Energy Add On Pack $1,215.95
4)Green City Challenge $3,868.95  

If you would like to make a donation to our club, we can provide you with tax deductable information to do so.  Please send me a message through the comment area below.

Until we can raise funds, we are using products that each family owns.  Each family purchased a Lego MBA Level 1 and 2 kits for their kids to work on (LegoMBA is a total of 6 kits).  Each kit teaches concepts in engineering and design with 3 models, and the kids build 2 challenge projects for a total of 5 projects per kit.  Each kit has a diploma that can be earned by accomplishing a learning “to do list”.  The program is a 10 month long learning program that covers 30 models total and is a good academic investment for $99.  Each of these families bought their own Lego MBA kits for their children until we can raise funds for our club. 

Many of the kids also have some lego kits they have acquired over the years and are using them to build challenge models and show and tell models.  Families are also bringing in robots or other items to demonstrate for the club meetings until we can buy items for the club.  We do hope to have enough funds by January to start with a $160 investment in a basic junk drawer robotics curriculum through 4H for the winter that has lots of building with recyclables and craft supplies, a scribbler 2 robot $150.   Then, later as we can raise funding, progressing into building and programming when funds alow to buy the Lego Education Products programs mentioned above.

One family in our club owns a Lego Homeschool Robot kit and my family has a couple of Robots the children received a few years ago for Christmas.  We brought these today to share with the club.

One of the first robots we talked about was the  Doodle Robot.  It comes as a kit with several parts, and the child builds it.  The Doodle Robot makes beautiful art drawings using three colors of markers and it dances in circles as it vibrates on a surface.

The next robot we explored was the WowWee Tribot Robot.  It has lots of person like features.  It interacts, asks questions, says jokes, dances, plays question and answer games, and explores the environment.  It moves in all directions on three wheels.

The next robot we explored was the WowWee Roborover Robot.
It also explores the environment, plays games, tells jokes, and it moves on tracks.

With its tracks and sturdy build, this robot was ideally suited for roaming the picnic shelter.

Several kids took turns operating the Wowwee Robots.

The last robot to be demonstrated by one of the families today was the Lego We Do homeschool kit version.  This was my favorite demonstration as it really showed the kids how they can build with a Lego kit, connect it to some electronics, and program it with computer software and then it does a specific task.   This is what we long for, to have the resources to set up our club room with these kinds of learning tools.

In this demonstration, a robotic arm was programmed with the computer and moves a lego figure to block a soccer
ball from going through the goal line.  A sensor keeps track of when the ball makes it through, and sends the information back to the computer and keeps score.  The object of the game is to shoot the ball faster than the soccer player can block it.   But there are many more things you can do with this, this is just one example that was a lot of fun for the kids to try out.  This mom was telling us she bought an add on kit that allows her son to do several additional science, physics, and technology experiments.

Next was Show and Tell with Legos.

The children truly enjoy sharing what they have built, how they made it, and what imaginary story they were thinking when they created their project.

Several of the children love to bring their actual Lego MBA challenge projects to share with the group.  This is great to see how the kids are applying the concepts they are learning in their kits. 

Kids are welcome to bring whatever they want for show and tell.  For many of the kids, their creations are a huge accomplishment and a real highlight in their learning adventure.

The imaginations are full in this group of kids.  We had vehicles, warriors, exo suits, space ships, hover crafts, mini robots, micro building, and more.

This may just look like childs play, but these kids are truly learning about engineering, mathmatics, science, technology, creativity and design through their play.  These kids are the future adults of our country who will fill roles in engeneering, architecture, science, medicine, teachers, homemakers, and more.  These are problem solvers.  They will one day help lead our country, our communities, and our families into the future.

And they are gaining confidence in sharing their ideas and public speaking skills as they come together at each meeting to share what they are doing with each other.

I am looking forward to more of this awesome learning adventure with this awesome group of kids!

Again, if you would like to make a donation to our club, we can provide you with tax deductable information to do so.  We are a 4H club and have non-for-profit status.  Please send me a message through the comment area below, and I will be in contact with you.   Thank you.

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

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This entry was posted in 4H Clubs & 4H Activities & 4H Fairs, Family Fun, Homeschool, Lego and Robotics Academy 4H Club, PE and Outdoor Activity, Robots, Science on by .

About Melinda Weiser

I am a sinner, saved by grace. I am on a journey and offer to share my story with the hope that it will bless you. My one desire is to bring glory to my creator. I am a wife and the mother of 6 children, plus two in heaven. I enjoy homeschooling, research, teaching, homesteading, natural gardening, grass based farming, cooking, fresh raw milk, herbs, children, midwifery, and music. I am a writer, biblical mentor, and also work part time in the healthy foods and vitamin business I have a BSW degree from Kansas State University, and trained professionally as a medical social worker, biblical counselor, tutor, and vocal performer. Thank you for stopping by to read about our homeschool and family life adventures. Be blessed!

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