At Margaret River Primary, we often talk about 21st Century learners, ICT skills and digital literacy, but what do these really look like in an eight year old student’s life today?

Early this term, Kai in Year 3 brought his latest Robotic Lego creation to school for news, and it was immediately obvious that Kai uses all of the above while pursuing his passion for Robotic Lego.  I interviewed his Dad to find out just how this keen interest had evolved and how working with robotic lego has helped Kai to develop new skills.

Kai Edited Final (Small)

Kai’s Dad, Gavin explained how, at the age of five, a chance garage sale purchase started both of them on an exciting journey into the land of Robotic Lego where the potential for creativity is virtually untapped.

He said

at the start of 2013 we were introduced to the brilliant Robotic Lego NXT 2.0  thanks to a garage sale book on robots, and with a bit of excited Googling we discovered that they were about to launch their upgraded Mindstorms EV3 Robotic Lego later that same year.
It was mind blowing, Lego had evolved from the humble brick, through Electric Lego, into full blown computer programmable robotics. Its more than a toy, it offers us ridiculous potential for creating brilliance. We had to have one….(note the word “we” – dad’s also want to play).

What they did next was help Kai to set achievable goals based on his existing lego abilities and keen interest in robotic lego, with support and incentives along the way.  Keeping in mind that Kai was then five years old, he showed remarkable determination and perseverence.  They offered to match him Dollar for Dollar to get the EV3 set.

We had a goal, a cost, a 9 month timeline, and Kai diligently set about his action plan of weekly chores and playdough sales with his mum to raise his half of the price.

Kai met the deadlines and achieved his goal of purchasing the EV3 set.  The next stage of learning was following procedural instructions to create the robots.  His Dad continued

Kai patiently assembled each of the five main robots in turn using the 3D building instructions on the iPad and I helped with the programming side of things which was new to me too. These five robots have been designed as stepping stones to teach us the inner workings of the kit after which there are other robots to be made which have been designed and uploaded to the Lego website by some of the craziest fans. Anything from electric guitars to book readers, braille printers, colour sensors and much more.  You can visit LEGO MINDSTORMS to view some of the potential designs.

On the day of his news at school, Kai brought in the latest robot which was his Robotic Lego Guitar, which he’d constructed himself out of the lego, explaining

It has wires inside of the lego pieces and then Dad helps by programming it.

If you look closely at the photo you’ll see each little lego piece which has been used to build this creation.

I asked Ms Westlake for a comment as the media teacher and she said

Kai never stops thinking.

In fact it is his ongoing enthusiasm for these projects that comes home clearly and how he is able to use integrated reading, viewing, maths and technology skills to make these robots.  He has some interesting projects underway which I am sure he’ll bring to show his peers for news in the near future.

This is an inspiring example of how one of our students is taking his learning to another level by accessing emerging technologies, with the support of his Dad.

Here you can hear him playing his creation.

I’m sure Ms Helen will have a great comment for Kai here.  🙂

[A big thank you to Gavin for your help with this information.]

Written by D. Veary from an interview with Kai’s Dad; Videoclip by Helen Collis; Posted by D. Veary


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