Campers Explore Physics Concepts with LEGO WeDo Robotics

Campers started off today’s session by reviewing important bricks and elements of the LEGO WeDo kit that add movement and sound to the projects such as the LEGO USB Hub, motor, tilt sensor, and motion sensor. The campers first worked as a group on the Dancing Birds project that is designed to give children experiences with pulleys and belts. Using the drag-and-drop software, the campers were able to build and program two mechanical birds that had a tweet sound activated when tilted and were motorized to dance using a pulley and belt drive system. After completing that project, the campers began progressing through the other projects within the LEGO WeDo curricular themes Amazing Mechanisms, Wild Animals, and Adventure Themes which included the Drumming Monkey, Hungry Alligator, Sailboat Storm and Play Soccer.  The Drumming Monkey project is designed to give children experience with levers, cams, and patterns of movement. Builders experiment with the number and position of cams, using them as the effort causing the monkey’s arms to drum up and down on a surface at different rates. The Wild Animals theme focuses on concepts related to sensing and responding to external stimuli as builders program the Hungry Alligator to snap its jaw shut when the motion sensor sees something near its mouth. The Adventure Stories theme focuses on language using the model to dramatize events. In the Sailboat Storm project, builders use the tilt and motion sensors to create a sequence of events as the sailor endures a thunderstorm at sea. The Play Soccer includes multiple builds within the project that are designed to focus on mathematics. In the Goal Kicker build, students program a player to kick a ball and can then measure the distance the kicking leg model kicks paper balls. In the Goal Keeper build, students can calculate the number of blocks, goals, and misses as they try to flick paper balls past a mechanical goalkeeper.  In the Cheerful Fans build, students can apply a numerical rating system to judge the best performance in three subjective categories. 
Tomorrow (Day 3) the students will continue working through the LEGO WeDo project builds and will also be introduced to an iOS app they can use to capture and share video of their work.