LEGO Education, The LEGO Group’s educational division, has announced LEGO Education WeDo, a new product that redefines classroom robotics, making it possible for primary school students 7-11 years of age to build and program their own solutions. Bridging the physical world, represented by LEGO models, and the virtual world, represented by computers and programming software, LEGO Education WeDo provides a hands-on, minds-on learning experience that actively involves young students in their own learning process and promotes children’s creative thinking, teamwork, and problem solving skills – skills that are essential in the workplace of the 21st century. The new product will be available beginning January 1, 2009.
LEGO Education WeDo encourages teachers to issue curriculum-based challenges for students to solve. Working in teams, children invent their own solution by building a LEGO model and programming it to perform a certain task. Cause and effect learning is enhanced by the models remaining tethered to a computer; similar to scientists in working labs, children can test and adjust their programming in real time. After reflecting on what did and did not work, students can consult with peers, adapt programming, adjust models, or begin again. Newly designed software developed by National Instruments, makes programming easy and intuitive and students quickly learn that they can solve real-world challenges by tinkering with building and programming.
Developed to cover a broad range of curriculum areas, WeDo sample topics include Language and Literacy: narrative and journalistic writing, storytelling, interviewing, and interpreting; Mathematics: measuring time and distance, adding, multiplying, estimating, using variables; Science: transmission of motion, working with simple machines, gears, levers, and pulleys; Technology: programming, using software media and creating a working model.
The complete LEGO WeDo package includes:
* 158 colored LEGO elements, including gears, and levers
* One LEGO USB Hub connects directly to a Mac/PC laptop, desktop, OLPC XO or Intel Classmate computer to allow control of hardware input (tilt and motion sensors) and output (motor), thereby bringing models to life
* One motor, one motion sensor, and one tilt sensor
* Drag-and-drop icon-based software that provides an intuitive and easy-to-use programming environment suitable for beginners and experienced users alike, developed by a leading provider of engineering hardware and software, National Instruments
* Activity pack CD-ROM provides up to 24 hours of instruction and includes 12 activities based on four themes: Amazing Mechanisms, Wild Animals, Play Soccer, and Adventure Stories. Running alongside programming software, activities are introduced via animations. Teacher notes and glossary are also included.
Source: The LEGO Group, www.LEGO.com