Welcome to blog sponsor Explorental!
Have you ever considered a LEGO Mindstorms kit for your kids? Maybe you’ve seen them, but are unsure whether the investment is a good one for your family. For less than the cost of a popular game console system, you can have a tool for teaching endless concepts and a source of engineering challenge for your kids.
Reasons to Use LEGO Mindstorms in Your Homeschool
Working with the Mindstorms kit requires a lot of different skills from students even when you are just starting out. Take a look at some of the subject areas accessed by work with the Mindstorms.
- Math– Although not always a student favorite, math is applied to the robot building when it comes to programming it. Geometry, particularly circle geometry is necessary to accurately get the robot to rotate the wheels the requested distance.
- Robotics– Who doesn’t want to build a robot and take over the world? Or at least the LEGO world!
- Mechanics– Part of the robot building has to do with putting the robot together with the technic pieces. How those fit together and work efficiently is a big part of the task.
- Physics– Along with efficiency, you need a stable structure. We spend a lot of time learning about which designs are the most stable.
- Fun– There is no shortage of fun when it comes to exploring with a LEGO Mindstorms kit.
Using Technology in Your Homeschool
Our kids use a lot of technology in our home- whether it’s a Kindle eReader, tablet or computers for programming and playing. One thing we really try to keep in check is how much our children are producers vs consumers when using technology. In other words, are they watching a lot and engaging in passive participation or are they being makers and creators?
LEGO Mindstorms uses software that is drag and drop so you only need to know some basics about how to get the robot to follow your commands. It takes time to master, but it’s worth the end result. I don’t mind my kids toiling for a few hours at a computer if they are actively problem solving.
Enjoy a look at Ethan (and our basement!), our 15yo 10th grader, explaining one task he and his fellow FIRST LEGO League team members completed for their FLL regional competition in December. Our teams spend 7 hours a week pouring into this particular piece of technology and it earned them Grand Champion at their qualifying tournament.
Teaching with Technology G+ Hangout
Last week the iHN hosted an informative G+ Hangout on Teaching with Technology. I was excited to be one of the participants. Click and view at your leisure to hear how others are using technology in their homes.
Using Explorental to Experience LEGO Mindstorms
LEGO Mindstorms is a wonderful resource for homeschools, but it may not be the right time financially to invest in your own. How do you get a chance to work with the kit without making that big financial investment?
Take advantage of Explorental’s wonderful inventory of technology gadgets and other kits. They offer a LEGO Mindstorms rental for $43.99 for two weeks.