The workshops are designed to promote and engage children in technology and engineering, through the use of Lego NXT. Children are given problems they will need to solve by constructing and programming a machine or robot using a Lego NXT kit. As a result, they will do what in the Technology syllabus is called the technology practice cycle, where students talk with others and work out how these problems have been solved elsewhere (investigate), come up with ideas on how they will solve the problem (ideate), use the kits they have to solve the problem (produce) and test it to see how well it works and get feedback from other groups (evaluate).
Children can come for just the one day or both days. If they come for more than one day, then they will be given more complex problems to work on and solve. The workshops are completely free of charge, and as such, lunch will not be provided. The last 30 minutes of the session will be spend in clean-up and deconstruction of the kits so they can be used on the following day or so they are ready to be distributed back into schools.
The workshops were run at the Bundaberg CQUniversity campus, in Building 5, which is the third building on your left when you come in the main gate.
Prior to 2012, two competitions (although we prefer the term challenges) were held per year, one aimed at primary schools, and the second for secondary schools. As Dr Rosie Thrupp’s contract at CQUniversity finished in October 2011, the Lego NXT research project has come to an end. However, this is not the end of Lego NXT in the Bundaberg district, with a number of schools owning their own kits, plus an additional 10 kits available for use in schools as part of Education Queensland Science Spark program. As of Feburary 2012, I am endeavouring to obtain access to a venue, prizes and support to continue running the challenges, and where possible, the holiday school workshops.
Each year the competition has had a different theme.In 2011, the theme was forests, as it was the United Nations International Year of Forests, so entrants developed plays, documentaries and drama scripts that demonstrated how humans have impact on forests, or showcased an invention they have created that can help the forest in some way. They then had an on-the-day challenge (also with a forest theme), for which they only have that morning to build and program a Lego NXT machine or robot to solve the design challenge they are given.
Following on from the theme of 2011 (International Year of Forests), 2012’s competitions are most likely to be based on the ‘International Year of Sustainable Energy for All’, and as a result, be related to renewable energy. For more information on this topic, please visit the below links. More information on the challenges will be released as it becomes available.
- Shontelle Lewis is responsible for the headache I now have due to Lego NXT
- Rosie Thrupp, a CQUniversity lecturer is responsible for ensuring the headache gets worse.
- We are getting too successful, and are having too much fun!
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The ‘Lego NXT in Schools’ project is in no way affiliated with the LEGO Group. LEGO, the LEGO logo and MINDSTORMS are trademarks of the LEGO Group.