Friday I had great fun visiting a Lego Robotics class at Great
Lakes Adventist Academy in Cedar Lake, Michigan. I’m learning that many
schools teach classes involving Lego
Mindstorms, a family of Lego products combining the study of robotics and
programming. There’s even an international competion run by First
Lego League International. I’m very interested in all this.
Friday’s class began with one team finishing a previously assigned problem
that involved having their robot push black film-canisters out of a circle while
leaving white film-canisters in place inside the circle. There were a few bugs
to begin with, but after a few trial runs and adjustments the team managed to
produce a working solution. Cool!
The teacher then gave out the next problem, a rather interesting "enhancement"
of the previous. I was impressed at the way team members worked together to
attack the new challenge. I was even more impressed when I saw students reusing
code, building their new program using previously developed solutions for simpler
problems. For example, the students all seemed to have a canned line-following
routine that they could just drop-in when needed.
Lego Mindstorms look to be a really fun way to develop logic and problem-solving
skills. And when you’re done writing a program, you have something tangible
that anyone, programmer or non-programmer, can appreciate. Kids today sure are
I want to learn more. Post below, or drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re using Lego Mindstorms at school. Let me know what you’re doing and how it’s working.