Lego Mindstorms Engineering Program

Grant Date: July 2014

Total Program Cost: $ 33,998.75

ACE Grant: $33,998.75

WHAT:

ACE funded the purchase of Lego Mindstorms kits to make the new middle school engineering program possible.  

WHY:

     The importance of the STEM subject areas in education has become a critical focus of business leaders, education policy makers, and economists concerned with the need to better prepare young people for professional and personal lives in an increasingly interconnected world.  Science and mathematics have long been fundamental subject areas for all students.  Engineering and technology education require the application of skills and knowledge gained in math and science combined with creativity, imagination, and a desire to solve problems and make life better.  Students need to experience the engineering design process in order to develop the habits of mind and the skill sets necessary to thrive in our innovation dependent economy.

     Each of Andover’s three middle schools offers all students a ten-week course in engineering as part of their integrated arts schedule cycle during each of their three middle school grades. After three years in middle school, every student has experienced thirty weeks of engineering instruction.  

     While most students exhibit a high level of engagement in their projects and develop an improved skill set for carrying out engineering design, there has been a need to restructure the middle school engineering program in order to provide a more coherent, sequential, consistent program across all three schools. Providing students with the opportunity to develop basic computer coding skills and use them to increase the functionality of their engineering design solutions has also been identified as important to develop.  Finally, the program needed to provide students with access to construction materials that maximize opportunities to express their creativity and ingenuity through the projects they design.

With this in mind, the new engineering curriculum introduces Lego MINDSTORMS EV3 kits as a platform for designing and constructing programmable devices for solving problems.  Students are assigned a specific project to construct with the MINDSTORMS building materials and utilize these devices as a vehicle to further develop computer coding skills using the programmable processor “brick” at the heart of the device.  In addition to working with the Lego resources, students will also complete a more traditional engineering design challenge not involving Lego materials such as the wind turbine or bridge construction projects.   

All 7th and 8th grade students at the three middle schools will now have the opportunity to design, build, and program devices using Lego Mindstorm EV3 Core and Expansion kits.  This innovative program is engaging students in a new way that will build and hone their engineering design and basic computer coding skills. 

WHERE:

In all three Andover Middle Schools