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A LEGO WeDo learning sequence for younger students

chair for bear
A chair for Mr Bear

This learning sequence is intended for students as young as 5 years old. It provides a  structured introduction to building with standard LEGO bricks before progressing to the WeDo kit.

LEGO Education markets the WeDo kit for children from age 7 but I have successfully used it with students 5 years of age. Some were able to follow the building instructions, which require no reading, independently while others need assistance. Most were able to copy the program with little help. Still, some students of this age, or even younger, would benefit from a more nuanced introduction to building and programming with LEGO building elements before proceeding to use the WeDo kits. This is particularly the case for those students with little exposure to LEGO building. Surprisingly, for me, this is most likely girls as they seem to have generally less access to LEGO building materials at home.

Building with general LEGO pieces

The Learn to build with LEGO learning sequence is just one example of how students could be introduced to building with LEGO pieces. It is not just a question of how the pieces attach but looking at design features, such as sturdiness.

  1. How can we build a sturdy wall?
  2. Chair for Mr Bear
  3. How can we build a sturdy tower?
  4. What is the strongest shape?
  5. Build a sturdy car: The drop test

Gears

exploring gears 530x300
Exploring gears

Gears are a particularly important aspect of building with LEGO pieces. Gears give the builder the ability to increase or decrease torque (or power) and speed. The Learn about Gears learning sequence provides six lessons on gears. You may like to follow all of them, or dip in and out, using the best lesson depending on student needs.

  1. Exploring Gears
  2. Music Box
  3. Fan-tastic
  4. Snail Car
  5. Mountain Rescue
  6. Peak Performance

Going further

Both the newer WeDo 2.0 and the older WeDo set includes basic models in the software or activity pack. However, there are a host of ways to extend the learning. Here are some examples:

Programming with Scratch

Scratch Code for Reporting Sensor Values
Programming in Scratch

You don’t have to limit yourself to the LEGO WeDo programming software. Scratch can also be used with WeDo and adds a new level of challenge.

More resources

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Wayne Burnett

Wayne Burnett

Wayne Burnett, Ed.D., is a Canadian father of two boys (both of whom used the Mindstorms NXT) who teaches at an international school in Singapore. In addition to teaching robotics, ICT, and information literacy, Wayne has recently completed a dissertation on using the LEGO WeDo to teach science.

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