Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Programming with Lego Mindstorm

Here pupils are using control technology to gain a greater understanding of programming. They were set a range of tasks to complete from launching a liferaft to fetching a satellite. Looked like good fun to me with great learning outcomes.


Mr Graham said...

I'm looking to buy some kind of robot to work with the Primary School ICT National Curriculum and thought about using LEGO's Mindstorm. I found your site on a Google search. What exactly do you use it for and do you recommend it? Thanks, Chris

Jonathan Furness said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your post to my blog site.

Firstly, my introduction to the Lego Mindstorms equipment was through an organisation called SetPoint who visited our school and worked with the G&T group. As it happened, they left some of their old kit with me, as they had replenished their kit with the latest Mindstorms which is far better because the models are easier and quicker to build.

The software runs on Windows PC and is easy to get running. The Mindstorm 'modules' interface to the PC using a USB cable. The children certainly enjoyed the programming element but it doesn't come easy to some. The way the SetPoint guys ran the day was pretty much showing some working examples of routines and how they make their own, but didn't give much more than that. By the end of the day, all the children had mastered the interface. Personally, with your usual Primary school kids, I thought the software was a bit too abstract, and too high level. I have found that 2Simple software produce an application called 2Control which is much more simplistic and interfaces well with the Mindstorm equipment. Well worth hunting that one out I think.

As for the units below, the Mindstorm equipment will cover those strands very well. Worth also getting Roamer and/or Pixie for the younger age children. Mindstorms is definitely a KS2 application.

Hope this helps. Come back if I can help some more, glad to pass on what I know.

Just in passing, where are you based?