|Image from Danny's Lab|
What is MINDSTORMS EV3?
The toys that taught generations of children to think like architects are now giving kids the opportunity to learn computer engineering and programming through robotics. Kits like the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 come with hardware and software to bring to life fully functional robots in infinite configurations. The development environment uses graphical representations of code to simplify the programming process for learners.
Despite this new user-friendly learning environment, the complexity of devices children can create is limited only by their imaginations. As they progress in their programming skills, they can shift from the graphical interface to pure code. With numerous add-on motors, batteries, and sensors, robots can be expanded and upgraded to perform new and more complex functions. Here is a look at some of our favorite MINDSTORMS EV3 ideas from across the web.
Solving a Rubik's Cube is an impressive feat, but teaching a robot how to do it is the ultimate test of your child's problem-solving abilities. In doing so, your child will also learn about the mechanics of color sensing.
Build a replica of Disney Pixar’s WALL•E and teach him how to play a number guessing game. In order to help WALL-EV3 make hairpin turns and travel in a straight path on uneven ground, your child must learn about the principles of gyroscopes.
The Tic-Tac-Toe Robot Arm
Build your own robotic tic-tac-toe playing partner. This machine uses a sensor to detect which spaces on a grid are empty and then uses an algorithm to decide on the best move. This project serves as an advanced lesson in designing decision trees.
The EV3 Color Sorter
Speaking of color sensing, the Color Sorter builds on the lessons learned from the MindCub3r project by adding touch sensors into the mix. This tutorial walks your child through creating a device that dispenses objects and organizes them by hue.
Your child can learn all about automation by making his or her own drawing machine. The Spirograph can be used to mass produce pictures of any pattern your child can program. Kids can even add a coin detector to monetize their hard work.
The location of the building instructions on this web page isn’t obvious, so we’ve included a link here.
EV3 SUMO Robot
Building a SUMO Robot is a great way for kids to learn about automobile construction while safely living out their demolition derby fantasies. This bulldozer can lift and transport small objects, but it is intentionally designed for destruction. This makes for a great group project as kids can compete to see who can build the strongest bot.
Instead of finding out how printers work by taking them apart, kids can now learn by putting together their own. In 58 steps, your child can make his or her own working printer. Aside from meticulous construction skills, this project requires mastery of coordinate systems.
This tutorial teaches the fundamentals of gyroscopes to help two different robots stand upright and move around on just two wheels. It also suggests additional challenges without providing step-by-step instructions, which requires kids to apply their knowledge to come up with their own creations.
These are just a handful of our favorite EV3 activities. There are lots more out there! Do you have a favorite EV3 project? Let us know in the comments!