Teaching LEGO Programmes in schools
From the early years, robotics can teach schoolchildren basic skills, such as critical thinking, presentation and teamwork.
Children involved in robotic projects need to apply mathematical and scientific concepts to real-life issues and so reap the benefits of hands-on learning. One way of introducing robotics to children is through teaching LEGO Programmes in schools.
LEGO Programmes are specifically designed to meet the needs of the school curriculum, without detracting from any of the excitement and fun of exploring real-life machines and mechanisms. LEGO educational products allow children to start by solving problems involving gadgets such as levers and pulleys, before moving on to more complex problems involving motors, gears, pneumatics and renewable energy resources.
The reasons for introducing a LEGO programme are many and varied but, from an educational point of view, it’s important for a school to decide exactly what it's trying to achieve with its own programme. A LEGO programme could, for example, be a vehicle for stimulating interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. This interest, in turn, could lead children in the direction of fulfilling, but previously unconsidered, careers.
Before beginning a LEGO Programme in school, it’s important for teachers to outline what they wish to achieve for pupils. They need to select appropriate hardware and software, ‘the programming language’ to the children enrolled in the programme. Schools also need to budget for competition fees and excess materials according to the activities which are undertaken and the overall size of the programme.
When hosting the programme in a classroom, teams of between two and four children are ideal, allowing every child to have an important task to play but at the same time, allowing children to rotate roles on a regular basis, so that each child shares responsibility for each aspect of the finished project.