The MINDSTORMS robotics ‘fit’ and your school

Since implementing a robotics program at Mt Ousley PS in Australia a couple of years ago,  my journey has been one of shared discovery, enlightenment, frustration and joy. I’d like to share a few brief pointers that may make the journey easier for those starting out on this rewarding journey!

1. Learn with Your Students – You can’t and shouldn’t know everything; let your students know that you are all learning together, and that with each failure you are ‘failing forward’ and one step closer to success. Both programming and building offer many levels of complexity so aim to enjoy the journey together.

2. Small Steps – Begin with building a simple robot base that enables movement and allows students to have early success. Program the robot to move forwards and backwards, stop at a given point and complete a simple turn. Introduce the use of sensors after the basics have been mastered.

3. Leverage Your Resources – How many kits do you have? What ages are you working with? Is it an after school or integrated curriculum program? Parent helpers? How many students per kit? How will computers and software be used? Consider these questions and the logistics and practicalities will fall into place.

4. Plan for the Future – Think about what you want from the program. Do you want to join in the likes of the First Lego League competitions and/or keep the program linked to classes or curriculum? Is it sustainable?

Through considering the above points I hope that you will enjoy the experience of robotics and share success with your students, peers and community.

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Assistant Principal at Mt Ousley PS, NSW Australia with interests in authentic learning and STEM esp. space, robotics, enviro.ed and citizen science. I've been using LEGO NXT in the classroom for years 3-6 problem based learning and enrichment streams. Always learning!

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