This LEGO® Program Will Get Your Library in the Fast Lane

K

BOTs1LEGOs offer a plethora of exciting learning opportunities for kids. Holly Storck-Post, youth services librarian at the Madison Public Library (WI), has found ways to take her LEGO programming to the next level.

During her MeeperBOT programs, kids build up their motorized BOTs with LEGOs and then use a mobile device loaded with a free app to control their creations. Not only do MeeperBOTs offer an easy way to introduce children to the world of coding with a simple, easy-to-learn app, they also provide opportunities for STEM-based learning and literacy connections. Below, Holly shares a MeeperBOT activity you can try in your own library or classroom that’s sure to get kids of all ages — as well as educators — excited about STEM.

Lesson Title: Race Cars

Grade Level: Pre-K, K/1

Time Frame: 45 min to 1 hour

Supplies Needed

  • One BOT for each group of 2–4 kids (this is ideal, but the activity can be done with up to 5 kids per BOT)
  • Mobile devices with MeeperBOT app to control each BOT
  • LEGOs
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Masking Tape (or something to mark start and finish lines on the floor)
  • Stopwatches or other timing devices, one per group (optional)

Special Personnel Needed

In a public library, parents should stay and participate and help the kids. In a classroom or school library, a couple extra volunteers in addition to the person running the program would be helpful.

Save

Save

Ready to Give Your LEGO Program a Boost?

Download the full MeeperBOT guide for more creative activities for school and public libraries.

Before You Start

  • Mark start and finish lines on the floor, about 10 feet apart.
  • Prepare BOTs and devices to be used by kids. Optional: Create lanes out of tape/paper for each BOT to drive in.

What You Do

  • BOTs2Explain to the kids that they are going to build race cars and have a chance to race them.
  • Read a book about cars or racing to the group (optional).
  • Divide kids into groups, with 2–4 kids per BOT. Hand out BOTs and instruct them to choose LEGOs to build a race car on top of their BOTs. Allow approximately 10–15 minutes for building. Make sure kids take turns so that everyone has a chance to add LEGOs to the build.
  • As groups finish, hand out mobile devices and let kids practice driving the BOT. Allow enough practice time for each kid to have a turn driving the BOT and learning how it works.
  • Hand out stopwatches and practice how and when to start and stop the timer.
  • Invite each group to the starting line for the races. One kid from each team will be the driver; instruct the remaining kids to step back and allow space around the race track. One kid from each team will be the timekeeper and time the group’s race car using the stopwatch.
  • As a group, countdown “3, 2, 1, Go!” and race the BOTs. After all the MeeperBOTs reach the finish line, each team can report on their time. Record on poster paper.
  • Repeat the race so that each kid gets a turn to be both driver and timer.

Extensions:

  • If time allows, add obstacles to the race track and let all the kids have another turn racing while avoiding hitting the obstacles.
  • Before racing, ask each group to come up with a name for their BOT. With the help of an adult, have kids write the name on a piece of paper to use as the parking spot for their race car.

Save

Makerspaces for the Win!

Kids and adults alike are going to love using your makerspace! Explore engaging tools for your maker crowd.

Books for Read Aloud and Display:

Tips for Facilitators:

  • Offer books on cars and racing for kids to get inspiration from, look at while they are waiting,
    or check out.
  • For larger groups, allow more time for racing. Let kids draw pictures of their race cars or look at books as extra activities during wait times.

Classroom Connections:

Math:

  • Kindergarten: Have students count how many LEGOs they used to build their cars. Then have them compare how many LEGOs they have on their BOT compared to another BOT. (K.CC.B.4, K.CC.B.5, K.CC.C.6)
    • Collect the data for the number of LEGOs on each BOT and have kindergarteners compare two BOTs to see which one has more or less LEGOs. (K.MD.A.2)
    • Compare the number of LEGOs each BOT has and group them according to the number of LEGOs. (K.MD.B.3)
  • Grade 1: Have students count how many LEGOs are on their BOT and solve problems relating to taking away (subtraction) and adding to the number of LEGOs. (1.OA.A.1, 1.OA.C.5)
    • Compare the number of LEGOs on one BOT (with a quantity of two digits) with the number of LEGOs on another BOT (with a quantity of two digits). (1.NBT.B.2, 1.NBT.B.3)
    • Look at and order three BOTs according to their visual length and measure their length using iteration. (1.MD.A.1, 1.MD.A.2)
    • Collect data on the number of LEGOs used for each BOT and have students practice organizing, representing and asking and answering questions about the data they collected. (1.MD.C.4)

Literacy:

  • For kindergarteners, have them do a combination of writing, dictating or drawing to represent what they built, or have them tell in an orderly fashion about the event of building and racing their BOTs. (W.K.2, W.K.3)
  • First graders can write an opinion piece about how to build and win a race with their BOT or explain how they built and raced their BOT. (W.1.1, W.1.2)

Authors

Elesa Swirgsdin

Elesa Swirgsdin

Upstart Editor at Demco, Inc.
Elesa is the editor for the Upstart brand at Demco and manages the content for the Collaborative Summer Library Program manuals. An avid lifelong reader, she is passionate about helping librarians inspire kids of all ages to love reading.
Holly Storck-Post

Holly Storck-Post

Holly is the Youth Services Librarian at the Pinney Branch of the Madison Public Library in Madison, WI. She loves everything about youth services, especially early literacy work, bilingual storytime, art/maker/STEAM programming and reading teen books. She is part of the administrative team of the Library as Incubator Project, as well as a joint chief for Storytime Underground, whose mission is to help children’s librarians change the world through storytime. Holly is also a founding member of WisCode Literati, an initiative which promotes code literacy in libraries. Holly details her adventures on her blog and on Twitter.