Video: Kids gear up to build moving Lego robot

Robot-building session in Ballyroan library is part of Science Week

Pupils from GS Chnoc Liamhna took part in a robot-building session at Ballyroan Library in Rathfarnham yesterday for Science Week. Ross Maguire, of Learn It, stages similar sessions around the country to teach robotics and electronics using Lego.


Lego is designed for

play but the eight- and nine-year-olds peering intently at their computer screens knew

the Lego they were using was no toy.

“It has wires and gears and stuff,” said Róisín, a third class pupil at Gaelscoil Chnoc Liamhna in Rathfarnham. “The programme on the computer tells you what to build.”

Her classmate Eilís admitted to having used the building bricks as a toy but this was different, she said. It had gears, wires, motion sensors, motors and axles to add to the bricks.

The 20 or so pupils were at Ballyroan Library in Rathfarnham yesterday to take part in a robot-building session as part of Science Week.

“It is a different way of learning,” explained Ross Maguire, founder of a company called Learn It, which stages similar sessions around the country. “We work with Lego Education to provide these workshops.”

Nasa software

It was all about building robots, not just ones with legs and arms but a device that could spin up

and launch a spinning top using the electric components along with software installed on the laptops. The students learned about gear sizes and motion sensors and how the same software was used to run sensor-controlled devices built by Nasa, Mr Maguire said.

Certainly the Gaelscoil pupils were not intimidated by the notion of building a robot. Within an intense half hour of digging through plastic boxes full of components they had built their devices and were trying to see which one could spin the longest.

Their teacher Eoin Ó Drisceoil watched the activity approvingly. “The more opportunities the students have the better,” he said.

Ireland’s libraries play an important role during Science Week, said Maria O’Sullivan, who organises children’s activities for South Dublin Libraries. “We are trying to take the ‘Shhhhh!’ out of libraries,” she said.