Sep 21, 2007

LEGO Robotics Workshop

I recently attended a Robotics Workshop put on by Maine Robotics. The course was paid for via some grants that Maine Robotics has secured, so there were no entry fees. Maine Robotics is a non-profit organization run by Tom Bickford that helps promotes robotics in the state of Maine. They coordinate and run the FLL Competitions (in December for us here in Maine).

The workshop was pretty good. It gave some examples of the differences between the RCX and the NXT. Tom also gave an overview of the Robolab software (for the RCX) and the NXT-G language. Seeing 20 or so RCX kits, and 10 NXT kits (plus all the related parts) sitting on one table was a sight to behold. It was like… nirvana… But hey, I digress.

One of my favorite parts, was the overview of the Power Puzzle challenge. I am not coaching a competing team this year, so this was the first time I got to see the playing field up close. After seeing the challenges, and discussing them with a bunch of adults, all I can say is "WOW". I think this is going to be a good challenge this year. Lots of options for points, and many ways to approach and complete the challenges.

I came away from the workshop feeling that there were not a lot of curriculum choices out there for teachers. I know there are a couple of courses, but many of them are expensive, and almost all are geared towards the RCX. Some of the teachers were choosing the RCX as the basis for their course, simply because they can find curriculum easier.

If you're a teacher, what are you using for curriculum?

What would you like to see for curriculum?

12 comments:

Jim Kelly said...

Eric,

I hear the same thing from teachers I speak with... but there are people working on developing stuff.

For instance:

http://www.legoeducation.com/store/detail.aspx?KeyWords=991388&by=20&ID=1455&c=0&t=0&l=0

Jim ;)

Anonymous said...

Jim, you love making me spend money don't you? Now I have buy another book and a compass sensor to boot! 8-)

Sybil

Brian Davis said...

Sybil - Jim's still working. Keep the credit card handy :-).

--
Brian Davis

Jim Kelly said...

I'm a restless soul... what can I say.

;)

Jim

Eric D. Burdo said...

I am working on some curriculum bits myself, but mine are still in idea stage. I hope to have them ready within about 2 months (well, the first ones anyhow).

Den said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jean said...

Greetings Eric, Greetings all,

I also attended the conference and was exposed to a whole new world of robotics challenges. We use Lego Robotics in a technology unit with our applied physics course. I honestly have always "thrown it at the kids" and let them run with the programming and building. I have yet to find a curriculum that would work for my PRE LITERATE students (yep, in the 11th grade!) I did check out the 4H curriculum while at the workshop and will probably purchase that to modify for our students.

Thanks again for all your help and for pointing me to this resource!

Jean

Anonymous said...

Jean,
There is a 4H curriculum for robotics?

Sybil

jean said...

Yep, there were two sections. Robotics Explorer and then Robotics Probe, I think. They are based on the RCX.

Marie said that there was a curriculum put out for girl scouts, too, but I haven't seen it.

Larry Langellier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry Langellier said...

Check this for a Girl Scouts curriculum. Also, check here for a 4-H curriculum.

Eric D. Burdo said...

Jean,

Glad to see you found your way here!

Keep an eye on this site, and the forums. I hear there are some new curriculum options coming out soon.

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