Part of my role with the Peterborough STEM Festival is to liaise with schools groups and inspire them to take part in our FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. expo.
FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. is a challenge for 6-9-year-olds in which they form a team, learn to follow a brief and work together using LEGO WeDo to solve a real-world problem.
I’ve not had access to the LEGO WeDo kit before so I’ve found trying to explain how simple it is quite tricky. So yesterday I managed to secure a loan of a set so that Dexter, Liam and I could get to grips with it.
My First Impression of the LEGO® WeDo kit
My initial reaction was not great as the app or software that you need isnt available on iPhones or amazon tablets – so instantly we were a bit limited in what we could use it with. However I was able to download the software on my MacBook – so it wasn’t a complete bust.
Upon opening the LEGO® Education WeDo kit, you are greeted with some stickers so that you can label up your tray and make finding the parts that you need a lot simpler. There aren’t masses and masses of bits – but there is more than enough to get you going and use for several projects. And because it’s LEGO®, it is obviously compatible with the stuff you most likely already have.
Creating and Coding Your First Project
When you open up the software, you have 3 options: Teacher Resources, Classroom Projects or My First Project.
When clicking on ‘My First Project’ it takes you through some very simple instructions where you’ll learn to
*Build the LEGO® model
*Connect the model to the device
*Program the model to show a flash of light.
This first project is incredibly simple and is an instant confidence boost once you’ve completed it. In fact, it’s so simple, I made a video to demonstrate…
So, what next?
Once you’ve tried a few of the basic projects, you start to get a sense of it all and ideas start to form in your head. Dexter and I copied the code it gave us to make sure it worked, but then we went off on a tangent and we explored the different code boxes to see what each of them did and how it changed our programme. We’ve had a go at quite a few of the classroom projects too. These are perfect for doing in lesson time or at after school clubs as they are short enough to do from start to finish in a decent amount of time.
There is still a lot that we haven’t used yet but we’re really enjoying the learning process.
The coding blocks are very similar to Scratch – something else that we’ve recently been exploring – so it’s a case of finding the code block that you need, dragging and dropping it into your list and hitting ‘go’.
I’m hoping that now that I understand the kit so much more, I’ll be able to pop into schools and have a chat with some teachers or heads and try and convince them to use it in their classrooms or even enter the FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. expo.
If you’d like to know more about the expo, or the WeDo kit – or anything I’ve mentioned in this post, do feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.