By Stephanie Ratts Grissom
The kids who attend Science Club at the Harker Heights Public Library get to play with the coolest toys.
This week, children’s librarian Amanda Hairston wanted to introduce Science Club to coding, and along with it some robotics, so she brought out the Lego Education Wedo Sets.
These kits contain 280 Lego building parts, a “Smarthub” (an electronic “building brick” that uses a battery source and Bluetooth technology to connect to the software), a motor, and two sensors.
Hairston began the Wednesday afternoon session with a question for the half-dozen children. “What is a robot?”
Five-year-old Melanie Tjaden answered, “A machine that moves and that helps you do things.”
Hairston’s next question was, “What do scientists do when they want to study somewhere that they can’t get to?”
The answer was, they use robots. And after going over some of the different parts of the Lego Wedo sets, such as the motors and sensors, Hairston told them, “Today we’re going to build Milo the Science Rover.”
The children first watched a short introductory video on the tablets provided, and then worked to assemble their rovers/robots as they followed the directions. Some worked individually, some in pairs, but all worked diligently.
Four-year-old Patrick Tamby worked with the guidance of his mother, Chalsea Buford.
“He’s pretty good working with Legos,” Buford said, as Patrick searched for the pieces to his rover.
Six-year-old Wyatt Friddle preferred to work on his own, and managed to build his rover first. He then began to program it to move, but found that it stuck after moving only a few inches.
When it lagged, Wyatt used problem-solving skills to find a solution, and it no time at all he had the issue fixed and his rover was rolling along nicely. He then began to try different programming sequences to make it move in different ways.
Joshua Moore, 14, worked with a partner, and together they had their rover’s light changing colors, and even playing music at different intervals.
“You can do musical sounds, lights, all kinds of stuff,” Hairston said. “It’s pretty cool.”
Hairston said, “We love the Lego Education products. They hit on more than just building and engineering—they hit the flow of electricity, Bluetooth technology, coding, problem-solving, and thinking critically about the world around us.”
Hairston said the library would be holding a Lego robotics camp and a STEM (“Not STEAM, we’re not doing all the art,” Hairston said) camp this summer, something that not only the Science Club kids can look forward to, but also children who can’t attend Science Club during the school year.
Next week, the theme for Science Club is “Sweet Science” for Valentine’s Day, and “will involve treats.” Science Club is held every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.