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Introduction to Lego MindStorms

KS2, KS3

Core National Curriculum links

Science, Computing, Maths

Main engineering principles

  • Pupils draw on a range of thinking skills and personal capabilities

Duration

A series of lessons

EHoMs

System thinking, Creative problem-solving, Improving

EDP stages

Create

Resources required

Lego MindStorms, iPads/tablets (minimal control interface), PC/Mac (full control interface)

Summary of activity

Basic: Learn how to program and control Lego MindStorms
Extension: Use data logging function in a science experiment (Upper KS2/KS3)

To open the activity

Demonstrate how a Lego MindStorm navigates around a course with obstacles.

The main activity

Lesson 1:
a)    Pupils will learn how to connect an iPad to a Lego Mindstorm.
b)    They will demonstrate success when iPad is connected.
c)    Key activities outline: The pupils have to work out how to switch on Bluetooth on the iPad and the Lego Mindstorm, then pair them successfully without connecting to a neighbouring group.  Once the Mindstorm is connected they have to work out how to use the iPad app to program the Mindstorm to move.

Lesson 2:
a)    Pupils will learn to program a Lego Mindstorm.
b)    They will demonstrate success when the Mindstorm is controlled by the iPad.
c)    Key activities outline: The pupils have to use the iPad app to control the Mindstorm.  The activity is set up on the tables so the program has to be accurate so as not to send the Mindstorms off the table!

Lesson 3:
a)    Pupils will learn to program a sequence of moves with the Mindstorm ready for a synchronised dance off.
b)    They will demonstrate success when all the Mindstorms perform the same dance.
c)    Key activities outline: The pupils have to work out first of all how to program a series of moves into the Mindstorm, then collaborate to share the best program and copy and install it on all the Mindstorms ready for a synchronised dance off.

Lesson 4:
a.    Pupils will learn to connect sensors to the Mindstorm.
b.    They will demonstrate success when the sensors are connected and working properly.
c.    Key activities outline: There are a range of sensors included with the Mindstorms, the task is to rebuild the robot to incorporate the sensors.  Once the sensors are built in then the pupils have to program them to work – easier said than done.

Lesson 5:
a)    Pupils will learn to use the sensors on the Mindstorms to negotiate an obstacle course.
b)    They will demonstrate success when the Mindstorm gets round the course.
c)    Key activities outline: Pupils use the iPads to successfully program the Mindstorms to navigate a set obstacle course..

Lesson 6:
Continuation of obstacle course making and navigating.

Challenge and support

Challenge:
Using sensors is technical and more suited to KS3 or gifted and talented KS2 pupils.
Support:
Demonstration and adult input.

To finish the activity

Pupils to demonstrate their successes.

Learn from me (what worked well for us)

Practise using the MindStorm beforehand.