In the science activities on my website I have tried to utilize inexpensive or free materials to create projects related to science. The cost of the Lego NXT I feel is reasonable for what is provided but still it is rather expensive. After observing a couple of Lego League competitions sponsored by High Tech Kids I decided to purchase the Lego NXT retail unit, there is also an educational version with minor differences.
With all the pieces, several hundred, I decided to purchase a fishing tackle box to sort and store the various pieces; it is my understanding the educational version includes a storage tub. After going through the instructions and simple projects that were provided, I purchased a couple of books on Lego NXT which have been very helpful.
|Fishing Tackle Box Holds Pieces|
To become familiar with the components and assembly I started with simple projects and then tried progressively harder projects that I found in books and on the Internet. I was learning from entering the program code and assembling the many pieces but I was not creating anything with my own thought process, just following directions. At times I did have to think about what I had done wrong and correct it to complete the project. I built a bar code simulator and a Jeep that required a good amount of assembly.
|Bar Code Scanner Simulator|
This winter I would design my own basic robot that I would attach all the sensors to and create my own simple programs to begin to learn the basics of programming. I believe becoming familiar with sensors that are attached to microprocessors will help a person understand so much of what is happening in this digital age. For example the modern automobile has so many sensors for detecting if a door is open, if the wheels are slipping, to help with braking, and to accurately meter the fuel going into the engine.
|Framework & Caster Wheel in my Simple Robot|
In future articles I will share more of what I am learning with the Lego NXT robot.