Sunday, January 1

Practical LEGO Robot Kits for Kids (7+) - 实用机器人套件

The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Simple MachinesDid you make the similar mistake? My son loves Legos. To cultivate his engineering sense, I bought tons of different LEGO sets, City, The Mine, CreatorStar Wars, Technic etc. However, the problem is when the set is built, it is "dead" and becomes a display.

Luckily, I met a renowned robotics educatorCharles Chen, at my son's robotics camp and talked about this problem.  He gave me a simple solution for kids age 7-10 before using LEGO Mindstorms:

今天聊聊机器人。大家有没有遇到同样的问题?我儿子酷爱Lego,
为培养他的兴趣,我买了暴多的成品Lego。但问题是一旦搭好后,
这套Lego就变成了摆设,又不能搭成别的。
有幸的是,我碰到了休斯顿地区知名的机器人指导老师 Charles Chen,并和他讨论了此问题。他的解决方法是下面这个简单的公式:适于7-10岁孩子未接触 LEGO Mindstorms:


Practical LEGO Robot Kits  = Isogawa's LEGO Idea Books + LEGO Education Sets


Isogawa's LEGO Idea Books

They are different from regular LEGO sets without step-by-step instruction images. In fact, Isogawa's Technic idea books only take 1 or 3 pictures of the assembled ones. Your kid needs some guess and try to duplicate them. Reverse-engineering is the next level of LEGO building for your kids.
The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Wheeled Wonders

The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Simple Machines

fundamentals of Machine Elements: gears, shafts, pulleys, turntables, connectors, etc. Great intro book for LEGO Simple Machines Set 9689 and Powered Machines Set 9686.


The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Wheeled Wonders

a collection of hundreds of mechanisms for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles. Extension of book 1. My son's favorite.

The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Fantastic Contraptions

a collection of hundreds of working examples of simple models. Advanced book, but my son is not very big on this book.

The LEGO Power Functions Idea Book, Vol. 1: Machines and Mechanisms

The LEGO Power Functions Idea Book, Vol. 2: Cars and Contraptionsshowcases small projects to build with gears, motors, gadgets, and other moving elements. Again, a perfect book matches Sets 9689 and 9686. Mr.Chen uses this classic book to teach his robotics classes.

The LEGO Power Functions Idea Book, Vol. 2: Cars and Contraptions

One step forward - use basic knowledge from Book 1 to build cars. Mr.Chen develops some of his robotics curriculum based on it.



LEGO Education Sets

LEGO Education Sets are very popular in STEM society. Numerous schools and camps have been using them for their robotics curriculum. Interestingly, Lego never openly advertises their Education Sets. In fact, you can not find any on their official websiteShrewd marketing strategy - If they do so, the sales of other commercial packages (Chima, Star Wars, etc.) will be damaged. 


Friendly reminder - Do NOT buy any LEGO Education Sets from Amazon sellers, much higher price than LEGO Education site.


Simple Machines Set 9689 7+yrs

Simple & Powered Machines Base Set 9686 8+yrs  


Renewable Energy Add-on Set 9688 8+yrs 

Pneumatics Add-on Set 9641 10+yrs 


Buy Parts

The above Lego Education sets do not cover all Technic parts needed in Isogawa's books, so you have to buy the missing ones online. Here is the website lists all Technic parts in his books, and you can buy them from bricklink website. I bought 2 motors and a few Technic pieces from bricklink, good experience, fast shipping, accept paypal.