Mar 24, 2006

Mindstorms and younger designers

39 DAYS... and counting...

A visit to Kid Technic has me thinking. Mindstorms has definitely had a positive impact on the younger designers (kids), and if you visit Lego's official discussion forums you'll see the excitement over the upcoming release is high. Organizations like Kid Technic and FLL need to be congratulated for offering this type of hands-on activity that encourages our youth to investigate the math & science subjects.

Kid Technic has a nice little summary for how they use robot building to teach some great concepts to kids here.

Once again, I'm encouraging any of you who have the time or interest to get in touch with the First Lego League and volunteer. I'm looking forward to late-April when the International FLL Championship will take place here in Atlanta, Georgia (USA).

Also be sure to check out the NXT summary on the Kid Technic site.

2 comments:

peter hoh said...

Maybe it's just me, but there seems to be a huge gap between the challenges in the Junior FLL and the regular FLL. I think there ought to be something that engages kids in the basics of structural design and mechanics before they get to the robotics level.

Because the NXT system uses a motor box -- rather than a basic motor -- I'm afraid that certain lessons aren't going to be learned. On one level, Mindstorms becomes easier, but it may also mean that kids miss out on having to learn certain basics.

I think appropriate Junior FLL activities would have kids making simple machines and then working with basic motors and gears. Or making cars and then figuring out how to power them with rubber bands.

I know there's a vehicle component to the JFLL contest, but it just doesn't seem to me to be enough to prep the kids for the jump to robotics.

Jim Kelly said...

Peter,

Can you add some more detail to your description of the overall need? I think I understand what you're saying, but I'd like you to go into it a bit more...

The reason I ask is that I am concentrating my energies on teaching the younger designers and developing some written content to help them move forward in a logical manner... any suggestions, comments, help, or ideas you provide will be most appreciated.

Jim

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