LEGO BOOST was released in 2017, joining MINDSTORMS and WeDo in the LEGO robotics line-up. Unlike those two products, BOOST was designed solely for the retail market. BOOST has received rave reviews and a number of awards.
Even though it is not designed for educational settings, does BOOST have anything to offer educators? The answer is a qualified yes.
First, the pros:
- BOOST has an easy-to-learn block-style programming environment.
- The set is brick-based, making it easier for novices to get started building than the beam-and-peg environment of MINDSTORMS.
- BOOST is geared towards an older audience than WeDo, making it more appealing for use with upper-elementary and middle-school students.
- BOOST comes with three motors, two of them built into the hub, making it more powerful than the WeDo set, which has only one motor.
- A BOOST set costs less than either a MINDSTORMS set or a WeDo set, making it attractive for those on a tight budget.
And the cons:
- The BOOST software is tablet-based; it does not work on laptops or Chromebooks.
- The building and programming activities included with the BOOST set are designed for an individual user. They are appealing but highly structured and time-consuming—well suited for a single child, but not a good fit for classroom or club use.
- The LEGO pieces come in one large box; there is no storage tray.
My verdict: Although LEGO BOOST is a great set for home use, it is not a good fit for a formal classroom. If, however, you’re running a makerspaces or an afterschool club, you may find it suits your needs well.
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Barbara teaches at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and works at the Center for Engineering and Education Outreach at Tufts University. She is the author of several LEGO robotics activity books for teachers, most recently STEM by Design.
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