Nov 6, 2006

What's the Appropriate Age to Introduce the NXT?

A review in this week's Time Magazine says that the NXT is suited for high schoolers and adults, and that it's too challenging for pre-teens. Read ithere.

In my opinion, this reviewer needs to work more with the NXT before making such a judgment. (There are a lot of precocious preteens and Lego Leaguers out there who have taken to the NXT).

However, this reviewer indirectly raises an important question: is the NXT generally too challenging for ten-year-olds, the minimum age to which Lego is marketing the product?

What do you think?

11 comments:

Jim Kelly said...

That opinion might cover a large percentage of 10 year olds, but in my opinion the NXT kit is probably only requested by 10 year olds (and older) who know they can handle the tech expectations of the kit.

Programming would be what I would expect to be the tough part... not building. Programming theory can be a difficult subject the first time around.

Brian Davis said...

For some 10-year-olds, the programming is too much... actually, for some 20 and 30-year-olds, it's too much. On the other hand, my 8-year-old was left alone with the software, and an hour later (with no help) had the robot moving around. "Your mileage may vary" is a very important footnote here, as it will depend strongly on the individual.

If that sounds like weasling around the question, to an extend it is - because both I (who have been playing with the NXT and watching other interact with it) as well as the reviewer simply do *not* have enough information to make an informed judgement on this issue. I strongly suspect LEGO does (that, after all, is their market).

My personal *opinion*, based on several months of experience, is that it is suitable for 10 year olds. But that doesn't mean it's easy; it will push them. Which, afterall, is the idea ;-).

--
Brian Davis

Rick Rhodes said...

I've got a friend whose kid is nine years old, and who wants the NXT because he saw it in a Lego magazine.

His dad is tech-savvy, which will help the kid manage the building and programming. On his own, though, I think the kid will find the programming too challenging.

Rick Rhodes said...

Brian,

Good points all. Rock bottom message: You have to know your kid.

Anonymous said...

My son is 5 years old and yet he cant program, or build any robots on his own.. he enjoys it very much and we do things together. its something that we both enjoy and the bonding we have gotten out of it is priceless... so I would say ANY age is appropriate

Will George said...

One poster said...
My son is 5 years old and yet he cant program, or build any robots on his own.. he enjoys it very much and we do things together. its something that we both enjoy and the bonding we have gotten out of it is priceless... so I would say ANY age is appropriate..

Right on! If you see a childs eyes 'light up' when he sees the box.. GET IT!

Most you loose is some money that you would have Pi..ed away anyway.
And just MAYBE you have a new Programmer or just a child that LOVES science and 'tinkering!

Anonymous said...

A fair number of elementary schools in the States have robotics programs these days, so I don't think Lego is off the mark recommending ages 10+.

Like any other children's activity, adult supervision is always helpful -- especially if the adult is a techie.

It may well be that Lego is building off of the interest in school robotics and expecting some kids to want to -- and be able to -- do projects at home.

Scott said...

My son is 9 and has picket it up well. After building the first tribot he got to modifying the program to make it do other things. Since then has progressed to other small projects, he is full of ideas and enthusiastic. I am very IT literate and can help. If I were not and he was on his own he would probably struggle.

Andy said...

My eleven year old son will be getting NXT for Christmas, and I plan on starting it out with him as a father/son activity.

When he's ready to fly solo, he will... until then, we're in it together.

Will George said...

I posted then I saw this post.
GEEE What is a 10 year old to do?

am really looking forward to offering the CMU curriculum as an advanced course at our school club. I held off on introducing it in the beginner session because I wanted the students to first become acclimated with the software and building instructions offered in the Robot Educator that is included with the NXT-G Educational kit. It is going to be interesting to see how many of the students would want to continue after introducing a more structured curriculum.

posted by David Levy @ 9:19 AM 0 comments

I am NOT knocking this post at all. But I have a 5 year old Grandaughter that does pretty well with the lego program (Yes, I help a bit) But her older sister could care less...

I guess AGE should NEVER be a factor! Children do their 'OWN' thing and pretty good at it (If they want to!)

I guess I'm telling the school teacher to talk to the students before the class is designed.

Many will go outside for a smoke. Some will stay and listen and give opinions. I was the kid that LOVED Science and would have went outside to smoke.. You never know!

Anonymous said...

Well my son is turning ten tomorrow an he got the NXT about a year ago and when he had it for about a week he was already an expert programmr.(also at 2 and a half weeks he became an expert robot designer!)So taking that in mind i say about the apropriate age is 9 and a half. :-)

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