Saturday morning, before the reunion preparations began, I took Robby to the much anticipated Lego Robotics class. His teacher highly recommended that Robby attending this course because he gravitates towards the Lego table at every opportunity. Combining robots with Legos seemed like a surefire fit for my little builder!
was in the youngest class, my attendance was mandatory, not that I would
have left him I had the opportunity. I love watching Robby learn and
his enthusiasm about this class was contagious. My mind began to swirl
with the possibilities at Christmas as he excitedly began to build with
the colorful little plastic blocks and bits.
At the beginning the
class, Robby was given the choice of which robot he wanted to build
first. With no hesitation he was emphatic that he build the "kicking
leg" robot first. I overheard him tell his teacher that he "was going to
be a prosthetist someday like Mr. Elliot and build Momom new legs. I
should probably get started now." At this point my head was probably as
big as the room.
Robby and his Lego teacher worked for nearly an
90 minutes constructing the kicking leg robot. Unlike when he builds at
home, Robby demonstrated an uncanny amount of patience as he actually
followed the instructions (typically they are tossed to the side and
ignored). When he became frustrated he asked for a moment to take some
calm down breathes, and then he resumed working on his project. By the
time it was complete, we were all anxious to see if it worked.
proudly hooked up his robot to the test computer. I was probably as
excited as he when his robot kicked on command. I wish we could have
kept his robot but, being that it was made of Legos which were needed
for the afternoon project, Robby's first leg was dismantled before
lunch. Of course, not before I got a picture and a video!
lunch Robby returned to the classroom to begin working on his second
project. As instructed, he built a spinner and a spinning machine. When
hooked up to the computer, the little Lego top took off spinning around
the table. After his project was correctly demonstrated, he was given
his final test.
The evaluator handed Robby a blank sheet of
paper and asked him to figure out a way to keep the top spinning only on
that surface. I knew that Robby needed to change the size of the gears
within the contraption, but I wasn't sure if he knew how to achieve this
goal. With an unexplained burst of confidence, Robby took the sheet of
paper and told the teacher that her test was "easy peasy" and promised
to be back within a few minutes. I was sure we were in for a few more
hours of Lego class as he worked his way through the gear issue.
Robby's Lego classmates began to tinker with their spinners, Robby
began to play with the extra Legos in the box. His teacher reminded him
of the task and told him that he could play after he passed the test. He
looked up and smiled and said, "I'm not playing, I'm passing my test."
didn't take me long to figure out what Robby was building. While all of
his classmates were struggling with the gears and motors, Robby was
happily building a Lego border around the sheet of paper. He finished
his wall in about three minutes, and called the Evaluator to view his
Before he unveiled his Lego wall, he asked his
teacher, "So in order to pass this Lego class all I need to do is keep
the spinner on the paper, right?" She smiled and said yes. He proudly
took out his wall and put it on top of the paper. He turned on the
spinner and delighted in watching it bounce off of the border he
The Evaluator was dumbstruck by his solution. She began
to talk about changing the gears when Robby's Lego teacher interrupted
and reminded her of the objective. Robby, without a doubt, met the goal
that he was given. She agreed that he thought outside of the box and he
passed the final test!
My little Lego engineer was so proud as
he skipped out of the room. In the car he confided, "Momom, I think I
was supposed to change the gears. But that seemed like a lot of work and
trouble because I would have to take the spinner apart. Was I cheating
by building the wall? I thought it was a good idea." I promised him
that he was not cheating because he had solved the problem. He proved
that sometimes the simplest solution is the best. I can't wait to see
what he creates next time!