We had a fabulous Christmas day yesterday - We started the day with the kids opening their presents... and watching the kids playing with the roller skates they got for Christmas and other cool toys while we stuffed ourselves with food and wine.
The highlight of the day was giving all the kids their own NXT for Christmas: I have had enough of having a single MINDSTORMS NXT in the house shared between four people - and decided it would increase the peace and harmony in the house if every child had their own NXT.
So for Xmas each of our children got one NXT, four NXT sensors each, and a selection of motors - including TECHNIC & PF XL motors, PF standard motors, remotes and power supplies.
To top it all, we decided to have a building competition , where everyone get an hour to dream up and build a machine (with or without the NXT) and fight each other.
To make it interesting, we piled up a room full of TECHNIC pieces they can use in addition to the box full of LEGO MINDSTORMS goodies and TECHNIC pieces they got for Christmas:
The building went really well. We had one hour of peace when the three kids were busy concentrating on buildng their best creations, whilst our 11 month old baby watched them from the rocking horse she got for Christmas.
At the end of the construction, we had the contest - we used the old Sumo ring we built two weeks ago for fighting. It was really etertaining to watch the contest. Our 12 year old boy won the first price after knocking the other two off the ring. Our 7 year girl won the fastest and cutest robot price for the four motor vehicle .. and our 14 year old boy got the most amusing and ingenious robot design price with his NXT based robotic caterpult with multiple motors and a pneumatic projectile launcher..
Why not share what you did for Christmas?
In the mean time, I like to wish you all a happy new year and a prosperous 2008.
HOw did you get XL and regular motors? I've been searching for the Technic Bulldozer kit for a good price but everywhere was out of them. Even LEGO SHop at home said it is unavailable in the US. I already have a regular motor and battery box from my LEGO Science and Tech kit and would like to add the receiver and IRsensor.
The bad Bulldozer is gone, guess not to be seen for a price like we had. Im seeing them go for 300$ now to bad its like scalping lego these days. But hey at least ALL PF parts are being sold from lego.. we need a new rotation sensor now for NXT with better resolution than the old RIS ones! out of the bad some good news.
Seemed like a sensible idea as our collection of sets and pieces will probably keep him busy for some years to come.
So only other things this year.
I'd also like to here opinions on this from btk and others.
I recently consolidated 4 NXT retail kits into plano boxes.
See - http://thenxtstep.com/repository/planos/
I'm going to let my FLL team work off this configuration for next year and hope that they become better builders despite any conflicts that may arise by not separating the kits.
During this season the kids had 3 NXT Edu base + 3 resource kits and they were encouraged to create three identical chassis so they could concurrently test their mission attachments on any of the three compatible chassis.
Yes I believe the issues are similar.. at least in my case.
My FLL team (my 9 yr old son + 8 of his classmates meet regularly throughout the year. The competition is just one stopping point along the way. I doubt that my decision to combine the sets will help them win an FLL event. It may actually hinder them. My focus now is keeping them interested in building robots and I think that the way I've organized the pieces may provide a better environment..... Yes, building multiple robots may be an issue if one group has taken too many of the pieces... so we'll have to see how that pans out. At least I don't have to worry about keeping the sets separate which can be an impossible task at times.
I'll also be running a couple of camps this summer using 8 nxt edu base kits which I'll be attempting to keep separate... (It's a real nightmare)
Whether you decide to keep them separate or not, I still think it is a good idea to reorganize the pieces into plano boxes. In the pictures that I provided I had made an additional attempt to categorize the boxes by type. i.e. axles, pins, bushings and connectors.
First I built the "start here" robot, kind of boring, then attached all of the sensors to the chassis and started to learn how to write programs for it.
I've worked with software similar to lab view before (although not robotics related), but I started building my own bot from scratch, and took it apart half way through because of my utter failure at studless building. It probably has something to do with my complete separation from the Lego world for two or three years. I honestly didn't know that NXT existed when I started hunting for a Mindstorms kit.
Ah well, practice makes perfect. And I wish the rest of my family cared for Lego or robotics at all, because I wouldn't mind access to a couple thousand more parts.
Well, I'm off to make another attempt at building something, happy New Year everyone!
Regarding your question, LEGOMom - I am not sure what the best strategy is - I am relatively new to LEGO and MINDSTORMS - my children got their first NXT / TECHNIC kit this time last year -- we started off with one set (Tractor) .. then the then the bulldozer ... and now we have about 4 or 5 TECHNIC sets and four NXT's and some extra PF motors and stuff.
Regarding organising stuff - my kids don’t like following instructions - they prefer to design / create their own. This often means mixing and matching elements from different TECHNIC sets.
So apart from the NXT, motors and the sensors (which are personal to the kids), every thing else stays in a giant centralised store, neatly categorised. It seems to work pretty well for us.
So far I've managed to keep NXT kit out of the general pile. My son is just 7yrs old so we build the models from books quite a bit. We'll be starting the Mayan Adventure soon and it's nice to know where all the NXT kit pieces are.
Now with a 2nd kit...what to do what to do....perhaps keep the brick, motors, and sensors together for each kid and put everything else in a common NXT kit?
If I could have gotten my grubby little hands on a Motorized Bulldozer for Christmas I would have...but I have ordered some PF motors and accessories.
My 11 month baby has gone past the teething stage - so she no longer suck on Lego pieces!
But she has an annoying habit of wanting to tip neatly sorted toolboxes on the floor and then hiding her favourite pieces inside peoples shoes.