Campers Explore Physics Concepts with LEGO WeDo Robotics

In today’s session the campers focused on more complex projects that incorporated 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 Spinning 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 of Amazing Mechanisms, Wild Animals, and Adventure Theme which included project models such as the Smart Spinner, Roaring Lion, Drumming Monkey and Play Soccer.  
The Amazing Mechanisms theme is designed to give young builders experience with levers, cams, and patterns of movement. In Smart Spinner, children investigate the effect of smaller and larger gears on a spinning top. In Drumming Monkey, students learn about 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 the drum surface at different rates.
The Wild Animals theme focuses on concepts related to sensing and responding to external stimuli. For example, builders program the Roaring Lion to sit up and then lie down and roar when it senses a bone.
The Adventure Theme focuses on adding movement and sound to the models in ways that represent and 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 project 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 paper 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 tomorrow’s session (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.