Feb 6, 2008

How young is too young for the NXT?

LEGO's recommended age on the box is 10 & up... but we all know some younger builders for which that simply doesn't apply - and they're designing some interesting robots.

Reader Beth posed an interesting question on our forum (edited below), and I'd like to invite our readers to visit the forum and offer their suggestions to Beth as well as to add to the discussion. Click on the question below to join the discussion.

"My son and I received an NXT for Xmas. I am looking for some book recommendations with ideas/plans he can follow. He has a little trouble with the programming (and I am slowly learning) but is great at building the actual robot. I ordered the Zoo book but it is not expected for another month. Are any of the other books geared more for younger kids? I found a website with great building instructions and downloadable programs but I think a book would be easier (then he won't be messing with my laptop unassisted :-) ). Are there any more modules available for the included software with the step by step instructions and help?"

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a 5 year old twins (Jelle & Jurre) that is able to build projects themselves using nxtprograms.com. I guess in due time programming will work too. ;-)

See: http://www.wonderenbestaan.nl/lego

If you click on video's you see them build in action. (YouTube)

Eric D. Burdo said...

My 5 yr old (well, wait... he's now 6) can build most of the robots I found instructions for. And he's figuring out things on his own pretty well.

But he has no interest in programming. So I don't know how well he'd do there.

I plan on getting the Zoo book when it's available. I think my son will like those, and maybe I can entice him into programming some.

Anonymous said...

I have have had robotics studnets as young as 4 - it really depends on their LEGO building abilities and endurnce with technic bricks. With the NXT I have searched NXTLOG for a simple 2 moror robot using the key words "car, vehicle, or even simple." I first build the model from looking at the picture or using the LDD files. LDD building instructions can be printed too.

I find that with children under 10, modeling how I am building and troubleshooting is a valuable lesson. Children often pick up on this and feel more confident with their own building. I do the same with the programming.

I encourage children to add on sensors (and learn them) and additional attachments once they have an idea of what they want their robot to do.

LEGO engineering.com also has some simple models and activities to start with.

Nitin said...

I would like to share my experence, which you may find useful.

My son started at 4 yrs. Now he is five and can program. We find Jim Kelley's Mayan Adventure to be the best book out there, as it has a story and in the story, Robots are used to solve the problems. Apart from building, programming those Robots, testing by creating environment similar to the one in the story was so much fun! We bought many books published after Mayan Adventure, and now playing with David Purdue's Unofficial NXT Inventors guide. This book is nice, as it explains the role of each of the parts and combine those to build basic building blocks to make a Robot. We have pre-ordered Fay's NXT Zoo book, and purchased Education Supplemental Kit in anticipation of building the Robots in her book.

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