Friday, February 6, 2015

Hardware Friday: LEGO Building

We kicked off our month of LEGO workshops with an afternoon of free building.  We had twenty kits, one for each student - stacked up on the cart, they barely fit through the door!  Special thanks to Joe Muskin at MechSE for letting us borrow them!

I got a bit wrapped up in all the activity and didn't have time to take pictures.  However, I did manage to get a couple shots of one student's work while we were cleaning up:

Check it out in motion, below the cut:

There were many different styles and configurations of vehicle (the kits are for building moving, sensing robots).  Several students also experimented with the various sensors and modules in the kits.  They'd explore independently, share their findings with others, and work together to figure out what did what.  I saw a pressure sensor being used to animate a face on the screen, and students found different ways to modulate the pitch of a tone by using a motor or an ultrasonic sensor (the "computer" part of the kit has a black-and-white LCD screen, a few buttons, a speaker, and a handful of connection ports to wire in the sensors and motors).

I should probably mention here that this was all done on the students' own - all I had prepared for the day was building vehicles and maybe a scorpion arm or something, I was counting on the students' natural interest in the toy to drive their curiosity and get them familiar with the kits while having fun building whatever.  And all of that happened.  What I did not expect was for the students to get the electronics wired up and doing interesting things - that was a surprise!  I can't wait to see what happens next week!

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