Building a LEGO-based Robotics Platform for a 3rd Grade Classroom.
robotics is a very popular tool for introducing engineering concepts to elementary
school classrooms through project-based learning and open-ended design challenges. It is
useful for this purpose because LEGO bricks are reusable materials, they allow for
designs to be quickly iterated upon, and it is easy for students to design very
different solutions to the engineering problem ... read morewith which they are presented. This
thesis proposes a wireless LEGO robotics kit programmed from an Apple iPad, targeted for
a 2nd-3rd grade classroom. The product is designed to fill a gap between two currently
existing LEGO products: the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT and the WeDo. This device is intended to
be more flexible for a larger variety of activities than the WeDo, and to expand the age
range of the target market to students as old as 3rd grade, before they are ready to
begin using the NXT. This is done in three main ways. First, the new device is wireless,
which allows the robot hub to be used in activities and applications where it is
impractical to be within tethered reach of the computer (e.g. moving across the floor,
hanging from the ceiling, etc.). Next, the robot hub can turn on the motors with a
simple button press, without being programmed at all. This allows students to focus on
physical building before moving to computer programming, a common sequence in
classrooms, while still being able to add motion to and test their designs. Finally,
students can program their robot builds with either a computer or an iPad. The Apple
iPad is a popular tablet that is very intuitive for younger children to use, and some
classrooms utilize it as their main computer resource. Allowing this device to interact
with and even control a robot in the real world opens up endless possibilities for
future projects involving the iPad interacting with the physical world around it. The
goal of this project is to develop a new robotics platform and programming interface,
and perform initial testing with this platform with 2nd-3rd grade children. This report
describes the first two iterations of this device, and suggests a direction for further
development of this project.
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Advisor: Chris Rogers.
Committee: Robert White, and Ethan Danahy.
Keywords: Robotics, Education, and Engineering.read less