Over the last two weeks I have been experimenting with the new(ish) Lego WeDo kits. I'd seen these before, but at Bett this year has a closer look and really saw the potential for an challenging KS1 piece of control hardware.
Just to explain Lego WeDo is a kit that builds over 10 different models that you control using the computer. All the instructions are presented onscreen and Max and Mia are two characters that take us though the activities. Unlike the more advanced Mindstorms Lego, this remains attached to the computer, you have a motor, a light/distance sensor and a tilt sensor to use in the models. The onscreen programming is just a series of coloured blocks that snap together, very simple to use.
I have been exploring this with the aim to introduce it as a unit next year for year 2. I was worried about the building and then programming aspects. What is the best way to teach it? I couldn't see teh point of building one week and then comming back to it the nest week as you loose all the excitment, so could it be done in an afternoon? After working for two weeks its clear that the children really enjoyed the experience and nearly all of them at the end of an afternoons work (1 hour 30 minues) had built and programmed a model. I think its possible to spend a little more working on them as well.
More importantly both classes said that they would love to do it again and they would be better next time. So over a 3 or 4 week period if you spend an afternoon on it by the 3 or 4 one the building will be quicker can you can focus even more on the programming side.
One more next week. Check out a short video of some of the action in class.