I had the pleasure of presenting at the #exabytes17 conference in Bradford on 7 July 2017. Yvonne Walker and I discussed our CAS Microbit project, making lunch box buggies on an Iron Man Theme! The resources for the project are on the CAS community site (sign up for free to download them all!).
We asked delegates to suggest their own ideas on how to use microbits across the curriculum and express interest in joining the project. Please use the google form if you are also interested!
Using Microbit with Lego Mindstorms technic Lego in primary computing.
Like many schools we have equipment that was bought, well used by a couple of teachers and then they left, the focus on the curriculum changed and the equipment began to languish unloved and gather dust in a corner. We have several sets of Amusement Park Lego Mindstorms For schools (RCX1.0 controller, set number 9725) that haven’t been out of the box in at least the last three years (though the dust on the top of the boxes suggested and the fact that the sets were first released in 1998 leads me to suspect it may have been much longer!).
Whilst the Robolab software and the drivers can be made to work with Windows 10 (the original requirements were for Windows 95 – bless), I felt it was time to try something different.
As part of a CAS cross-curricular project to use Microbits with our year 4 children, we are building lunchbox buggies. We have some kit to build buggies but in an effort to give as many children as possible a hands-on experience, whilst not spending any money, I turned to our old Lego kits.
The Lego motors are more powerful than the hobby motors we used from our buggy kit, but I kept the power pack (4×1.5V AA batteries) and the motorboard the same and hoped for the best!
I cut off one end of the Lego wire connectors, split and stripped back the wires and connected them to the motorboard.
I built a very simple frame and balanced the board, Microbit and power pack on top and switched it on and to my delight it worked!
So we will be sacrificing a set of Lego connectors but gaining a new set of resources at no cost to make more buggies. This will also allow us to offer two different ways of building buggies. Whilst the Lego one is perhaps more familiar, building the frame will be more of a challenge than using the lunch box and there is more physical dexterity and care needed to attach the wires to the motors when not using the Lego connectors.
So if you have some old technical Lego gathering dust dig it out and give it a go!