Introducing students to LEGO robotics assumes that they will be exposed to many of the typical STEM concepts. It is, by default, an engineering experience that allows for a low entry level into robotic design with a step by step how to build and code any number of predesigned options. These options span the core content curriculum which makes LEGOs attractive to teachers looking to promote a hands on and engaging activity that will match their content while letting their students (hopefully) apply what they have learned in a project based opportunity.
What LEGOs also allows for is the development and application of student character traits that we are constantly looking for them to hone and improve upon. Asking a student to build a LEGO robot requires patience, initiative and persistence. Add a partner or two and now these students need to be able to work as a team. Cooperation, collaboration and the ability to communicate become vital for a team of students to complete a LEGO build and then code the robot to move successfully.
Today I was working with a 5th grade class and their buddy kindergartners. The 5th grade class and I chose a simple LEGO car to build that would give their buddies a chance to see how something was built. Watching these two classes working together really brought out the character traits we wish to see our students display. The way the kids worked together was inspiring. 5th graders encouraging the kindergarten students, kindergarteners asking for help and everyone problem solving together. Watching this group reminded me that as we introduce engaging and innovative we really need to reinforce the positive character traits these tools can promote.