About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1261-1270
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain


U. Ihme

Mannheim University of Applied Sciences (GERMANY)
Lego Mindstorms is excellent proper for education at universities and schools. Most of the students are familiar with Lego, Lego Technic or even Lego Mindstorms, because Lego is a quite famous toy. Therefore it is quite easy to overcome inhibition thresholds and the students start to deal with technical or natural science questions.

Lego Mindstorms is very flexible. It can be used with all other Lego products. Lego Mindstorms can be used with quite a lot of different sensors. Therefore it is possible to solve a large number of different tasks with Lego Mindstorms. Because Lego Mindstorms is not so expensive compared to industrial development boards, it is possible to get enough sets for a whole classroom or laboratory. So Lego Mindstorms is ideal for working in small groups or alone.

For programming the Intelligent NXT Brick of Lego Mindstorms one can use different programming languages. So graphical based languages, like NXT-G and LabView, or text based languages, like C and JAVA, may be used. Therefore one can work with different languages depending on the age of students and their skills: the graphical based language NXT-G for younger students (10-14), LabView for students at vocational schools (needs license), and C or JAVA for students at Universities. Depending on student skills and interests it is also possible to teach a graphical and a text based programming language simultaneously. This works quite good with NXT-G and NXC, as they use the same firmware.

Lego Mindstorms is used at the Robotics Institute since 2004. Student labs for robotics education started with the older (yellow) RCX system and are continued until now with the newer NXT, especially for Bachelor students. Starting in 2007 Lego Mindstorms is used to inspire students of the secondary schools for natural science and technique.

The institute offers different programs, e.g. 3 days summer courses, short term courses for school groups, special courses for girls and cooperation with schools depending supported robotics teams. Since 2010 the Institute offers special labs for Master students, who will become teachers for vocational schools. These Masters labs are intended to develop summer courses for students aged 10 to 16. The course material is adapted for all students later.

Within the cooperation with robotic teams of schools, the teams take part at the international robotic competition First Lego League (FLL) for students aged between 10 and 16. A new scenario dedicated to a special theme comes out each year. The preparational time is about 8 weeks to build an own robot and to solve several tasks with it in the arena. Based on the 2011 scenario it will be shown how the tasks can be adapted for the Bachelors lab.

The second great student competition is the RoboCup Junior for students between 10 and 20 years. It will be shown, how the recue scenario can be used in Bachelor lab and at school.

Within the lab for teacher Master students, the own robot scenario Mars Mission was developed based on the FLL arena. This scenario starts with simple tasks, tasks dedicated to specific sensors and ends up with tasks that require a third engine and more than one sensor. This scenario is focused on younger student’s education and will be presented in detail.
author = {Ihme, U.},
series = {7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-2661-8},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {4-5 March, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {1261-1270}}
AU - U. Ihme
SN - 978-84-616-2661-8/2340-1079
PY - 2013
Y1 - 4-5 March, 2013
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2013 Proceedings
SP - 1261
EP - 1270
ER -
U. Ihme (2013) USING LEGO MINDSTORMS IN EDUCATION, INTED2013 Proceedings, pp. 1261-1270.