The many joys of LEGO

LEGO Planter

I have a few permanent LEGO/Duplo items around the house, including this plant stand, so it was cool to see that an architectural team took LEGO decor to a new level.

LEGO is the best toy I can think of for introducing kids to engineering and physics ideas while encouraging creativity. And of course, there’s the excellent LEGO Mindstorms robotics kit, which is a joy for programmers of all ages and skill levels. I just finished a session of teaching Robo-Pets, and it was delightful how well everyone’s pet projects came together by the end. Some of the students had worked with Mindstorms before, and some had not, but everyone was able to challenge their building and programming skills to create some really cool robots.

In my classes we use the NXT-G programming language which comes shipped with the Mindstorms kits, but I’m hearing good things about RobotC, an alternative programming language/IDE based on C which was developed at Carnegie Mellon. There’s an introduction to RobotC at next weekend’s CodeCamp, so I’ll be excited to see a real demo and find out if RobotC might be a useful platform for future projects.

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