Week 6: Robot Decoration

For week 6 we got a little crazy with some mixed-media Lego decoration!

The LEAP Americorps crew had a wonderful workshop with Wonderarts and learned about the fun and educational value of incorporating are into, well…everything!

Who says robots can’t have some flair?!

Not these kids.

Rose: Oh the creativity!

Bud: Hopefully getting to decorate robots can make programming and tech stuff more accessible to kids who might not think they fit in to the “sciencey” scene.

Thorn: Lots of clean up.



Week 5: Using Color Sensors and Switch Blocks

This week was pretty exciting.

The Lego Mindstorm kits come with a color sensor. The sensor can detect different colors or changes in color, and can be programmed to do different tasks, using the switch block, using the imput from the sensor.

I made a maze using a thick black line and some different color swatches that the kids had to navigate. 

Rose: The kids really liked using the sensors to detect different colors.

Bud: Will they someday work for Google designing self-driving cars? Maybe!

Thorn: Some of the sensors were a bit glitchy and did not work as well as expected.

Week 4: Driving in a Square With a Loop Block

This week the kids dove in to a bit of programming.

 They were tasked with using a Loop Block to program their robots to drive in a square. 

Lego Mindstorm

Rose: It was awesome to see the kids program the motors using rotations versus seconds and watching them get the hang of using the program pallet.

Bud: I can’t wait to see how they will use the loop block in future projects.

Thorn: The only thorn from this week was that most groups finished the task pretty quickly so they needed a tougher challenge!

Week 2: Building a Castor Bot

This week the kids built some Caster Bots.

The Castor Bot is a basic two-motor drive robot with sturdy construction that turns easily. Its a great starter bot that can be built off of for future NASA missions. This build is for an NXT brick, but still a good way to get familiar with LEGO parts.

Below is a poster featuring the different pieces needed for each section.  Students were split into 2 teams to see who could build their bot the fastest.

Thorn: For the Lunenburg group I gave the kids instructions (that were unfortunately in Black and white) and had them hunt through the LEGO box for pieces. That proved to be quite a challenge to finish in our 1 hour time frame.

Rose: The next day ran much smoother. At Miller’s Run I had each step separated out with parts and color instructions. The kids did awesome and were able to build their bots easily.

Bud: For future sessions I plan on having a setup somewhere in between these two strategies. I will definitely use color instructions and have the pieces organized, but the kids can probably find and count them out themselves.

Stay tuned sports fans,


Week 1: Intro to Robots and Program Overview

Robots Rule! KEAP Session 3 begins THIS WEEK after months of planning. Here at UVM Extension, excitement levels are high.

This week at Lunenberg, Gilman, and Millers Run we’ll be going over the course outline and watched some videos to get pumped for robotics.

Check out these cool creations:

Course Overview:

NASA is in the market for a new rover to explore the recently discovered planet EV3eden.  Our students have been tasked with designing and building a robot that is capable of following a set of commands to explore the planet’s surface. Over the next 7 weeks we must learn how to build and program here on Earth before the robot can be deployed.

Stay curious and help out NASA,

Katie (4-H Program Assistant)