doesn't like building with LEGOs? Mindstorms take you one step further
than just building, they let you make your creations come to life.
Mindstorms mix LEGO building with computer programming. Students
can build a creation of their choosing and by programming motors
and sensors they can bring that creation to life. They have the
ability to do things like color sensing, using audio sensor, motion
and pressure sensors and more. It really bring robotics to a young
age. If your students are old enough to build with small lego bricks
they should be able to build with Mindstorms. But where I have seen
the most success with Mindstorms is in grades 4th and higher. Also
due to cost I have seen the Mindstorm kits used mainly in small
group station settings and in after school technology clubs.
these LEGO sets is easy. You can follow LEGO's pre designed blueprints
for specific creations, explore the Internet for other builders
designs or create your own. Then you use LEGO's own programming
language to make the creations work. The programming is easy once
you figure out what all the different programming blocks do and
how to manipulate the variables. There are several books to help
simplify the process or after building a creation or two you get
the hang of it. The LEGO programming language is a variation of
a graphical Logo language. It is very similar to Scratch which is
another version of Logo. It is all color coded drag and drop.
As for the price:
The starting price on a Mindstorm kit is $349. Keep in mind this
is for the Consumer version. The Education version is $349 but you
need to purchase the programming software at a cost of $99. The
advantage to this is you get $100 worth of more parts in the Educational
kit. You get a second "brain" and an additional motor.
The other big difference is the pre design creations for each version.
The Educational version is more school-centric. They are creations
that can be used in class, for experiments and such. Whereas the
Consumer version is more designed around robots and creatures. Excluding
the need for the extra motors or such you can pretty much build
each sets creations so you have to make the decision which version
best fits your desired outcomes. The other thing to keep in mind
is the educational version can only be purchased through LEGO so
the price is set. The Consumer version can be purchased at most
toy stores, Amazon and such so there could be some long term cost
savings. Most cases where I have seen Mindstorms used the school
is using the Consumer version. The main focus is getting the students
creating and programming. The students find the robots so much more
fun. You just have to watch the licensing for installing the coding
software to make sure it is not installed on too many computers.
some Lego Mindstorm robots in action (Videos links
will take you to YouTube):