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Students use teamwork to complete Lego robotics projects

Alyssa Brokaw and Samara Magana work on a color sorter project taking one step at a time. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

By Anna Erickson

Park Rapids fifth graders are learning the importance of teamwork through hands-on Lego Mindstorms robotics projects.

Park Rapids Area Schools received a 3M Ingenuity grant to purchase the Lego robotics equipment and software. Industrial technology teacher Terry Zoller has incorporated the robotics into the curriculum.

Students are paired up and create a team poster. Then they work through the steps of building a device and programming it using a computer.

They are building a color sorter right now. Once completed, the device will be able to sort Lego bricks by color using a sensor.

“A major focus is the teamwork,” Zoller said. “I pair them up with a different student for each project.”

The industrial technology students meet each day so they are able to build on what they learned the day before and move ahead.

Students built a driving base for a previous project and programmed it to run an obstacle course.

The projects are challenging but rewarding. Working with different students is building skills for the future and real life, Zoller said.

“It’s very exciting,” said Century School assistant principal Shawn Andress. “This incorporates STEM into learning.”

STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and math concepts.

According to Lego, in 1998, the Lego Group revolutionized the world of popular and educational robotics with a pioneering concept: Lego Mindstorms.

“Teachers immediately realized the power of this hands-on technology and curriculum in engaging and motivating students to learn science, technology, engineering, and math concepts while equipping them with the real-world knowledge and 21st century skills required to be successful in today’s global society,” Lego’s website states.

Park Rapids Area Schools will continue to incorporate the robotics projects into its curriculum.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561