Coding/Computer Science Robotics

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Software Gets an Update

robotics
Written by Peggy Reimers

The LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Teacher Edition has a new component. Who knew? Good thing I have a great robotics PLN to give me a heads up about this important and valuable software update.

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 software has a new addition. If you have not updated your EV3 software lately, now is the time to do it. Drum roll, please. The Lobby now has a new section called Teacher’s Support that is divided into four sections:

  • Teacher’s Information
  • Lesson Plan
  • Assessment
  • Element Survey

 

Available under the first section, Teacher’s Information, is a 17-page PDF that gives you a rundown of EV3 in the classroom. Topics include How Do I Get Started?, Classroom Management Tips, and Suggested Lesson Planning Routes. My favorite part in this section is the explanation of the Robot Educator. The Robot Educator has always been the hidden gem of both EV3 and NXT software. This jewel contains 48 tutorials which, through building and programming activities, guide and support teachers and students from basic to more advanced skills. As an added bonus, the tutorials are divided into lesson planning routes through the STEM subjects.

Next up is the Lesson Plan section with two main topics: lesson plans and rubrics. The Introduction to Robotics Lesson Plan has seven lesson plans, two master challenges, and four design brief challenges. Each lesson includes the build, programming examples, challenge design, and discussion questions. If you are looking for a student self-reflection form or teacher assessment for the lesson plans and master challenges, check out the matching rubrics PDF.

The third section, Assessment, is, surprisingly, all about creativity. Several behavioral indicators are covered and creativity self-report templates have been created for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. Scientific research by Dr. Mark Runco provides the foundation for all of the procedure and concepts described in this section. My first impression was “Why include a whole piece on creativity?” But it is definitely worth the read and can be used outside of robotics in other subject areas where creativity and innovation comes into play.

Part 4 is the Element Survey. This section gives you easy access to the Language of LEGO (names of the LEGO pieces and parts). You can also find the five-page list of LEGO elements in the User Guide.

BIG BIG NEWS!! Most teachers in the LEGO robotics world know about the EV3 hardware and software. But did you know LEGO Education offers the following curriculum bundles:

  1. EV3 Design Engineering Curriculum ($379.95)
  2. EV3 Science Curriculum ($199.95)
  3. EV3 Space Challenge Curriculum ($349.95)  
  4. EV3 Coding Activities (?)

Hold the fort or in this case, hold the robot! THE BEST NEWS is LEGO has taken away the price tag for these curriculum pieces. You can download each one here for free. In order to use these, the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 software must be installed on your computer. These resources focus on students aged 10-16 with links to national curriculum standards. Includes student-ready resources, full teacher support, assessment tools, sample programs, and building instructions.

One caveat:

If you are using the EV3 Science Curriculum you will need:

+ Renewable Energy Add-on Set ($109.95)

+Temperature Sensor ($39.95)

If you are using the EV3 Space Challenge Curriculum you will need:

+EV3 Space Challenge Set ($189.95)
These 4 pieces released by LEGO are such a bonus for robotics teachers. If you are looking for curriculum, I would certainly start here. Go Bot Go! (Additional resources for this blog were added on March 10, 2017.)

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About the author

Peggy Reimers

Director of Professional Development at TCEA
Peggy facilitates professional development with G Suite for Education, mobile learning devices, robotics, makers, and other current technology trends. Formally a public school teacher, she shared her passion for technology and her creative, hands-on approach with elementary students for 26 years. Peggy earned her M.S. in Educational Technology from Lesley University and her B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Montana – Billings. Her super hero ability is figuring out which LEGO mini-fig is hiding in the little foil sealed packages.

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