Lego Robotics WeDo is a relatively new tool, designed for students aged 7 to 11. They are introduced to basic programming with an easy to use drag and drop software program. WeDo can be used across a wide range of curricular activities, such as science, maths, literacy and of course technology. The starter pack contains everything needed to undertake 12 activities. These are based around four themes: Amazing mechanisms, Wild animals, Play soccer and Adventure stories.
How can you use it in your classroom?
To watch a quick introductory video on how the USB connection to the computer works click here.
Lego WeDo has many features, including:
- Ideal for introducing technology into the curriculum areas such as science, technology, maths and language lessons
- Provides a stepping stone for teaching the basics of robotics
- Ideal for cross-curricular and project-based learning
- Designing and making
- Encourages the finding of creative alternative solutions
- Students can learn to communicate, share ideas and work together
- Ideal for introducing technology to other areas of the curriculum
- Activities integrate into the WeDo software
- Introduces skills needed for measuring time and distance, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, estimating, randomness, using variables
- Encourages narrative and journalistic writing, storytelling, explaining, interviewing and interpreting
- Provides a tool for developing creative, problem-solving and team-work skills
Potential, Barriers and Challenges
- WeDo is a fantastic tool in that it really engages students in their learning. What makes it even more attractive is that in many cases the students don’t even realise they are learning. By bringing fun into the classroom a teacher is much more likely to find themselves with enthusiastic students who are keen to learn.
- Using WeDo in the classroom encourages students to work collaberatively, meaning that everyone can become involved in the activity being undertaken.
- To be able to use this tool in the classroom effectively, numerous kits would need to be purchased. WeDo is best used in small groups of ideally 4 students, therefore, in a class of 30 students there would need to be a minimum of 7 kits available. The cost of each kit is approximately $300 so with a potential cost of over $2000 this could be an issue for many schools.
- Once the construction is completed the model must be connected to a computer by a USB in order for it to be operated by the program. In the classroom setting this could be an issue as there may not be enough computers available so that all students are able to participate in the activity.
When using WeDo with the younger students a high level of teacher supervision is essential for its success. Students must construct the models following the instructions provided in the kit. The temptation to not stay on task and to begin ‘free-play’ can be hard to resist for many students. A possible solution to this could be to inform the students that after completion of the necessary task they will be able to partake in some ‘free-play’.
The WeDo system is best used when the students are place in small groups, which can make the supervision of the class very difficult for the teacher. When completing activities using WeDo a possible solution to this could be to invite parents to assist in the classroom, giving more adult supervision and assistance to the students. Another option could be to invite another class, of older upper primary students, to provide assistance with the construction of the models.
Uses in the Classroom
Curriculum topics covered:
Science: working with simple machines, gears, levers, pulleys; transmission of motion.
Technology: programming; using software media; designing and creating a working model.
Mathematics: measuring time and distance; adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, estimating, randomness; using variables.
Language and Literacy: narrative and journalistic writing, storytelling, explaining, interviewing, interpreting.
Click on the video below to watch a quick simple introductory video on how to make the alligator model using WeDo, and see how this could then be used to assist in the classroom, such as when storytelling.
Click here to view a great information sheet on the concept of using WeDo in the classroom.
Lego Education provide printed aids for teachers to assist in using the WeDo system in the classroom. To view the guide to using the alligator click here.
To enter the site for Modern Teaching Aids click here. They are suppliers of the WeDO system intro pack, which includes everything needed to get started!
View a detailed guide on how to use this great tool
Another supplier in Australia of the Lego WeDo system is Moore educational: enter site here.
Enter the official lego WeDo site.
Click here to read a blog.
History of Lego WeDo and its creators here.
This article, taken from Design News, tells us of the benefits of using the WeDo in the classroom, as by having fun the children don’t even realise they are learning! Click here to read.
Although the WeDo system only gets a brief mention in this article, it is worth reading as it confirms the importance of using systems such as this in the classroom to enhance student learning. Download here.
This article follows a class of 2nd grade students at a school in Sao Paulo using the WeDo system for collaborative learning. It tells of issues that were faced by the teacher as well as the outcome of the study undertaken.
‘Robotics as an Educational Tool’. The article looks at the use of robotics with children through Piaget’s theories. Although it doesn’t mention the WeDo system specifically it does mention some of the other systems, such as ‘mindstorm’. While this was designed for older students the concept is very similar to the WeDo. Download the pdf here.