LEGO Academy

Goals and purpose

Build capacity in our volunteers.  
Expand volunteer knowledge and skills with LEGO MINDSTORMS.
Support sharing of ideas between volunteers around the area.

What we did

Two one-day trainings were held to introduce staff and volunteers to LEGO® MINDSTORMS®.  Each participant received hands-on building and programming training with a Certified Academy Trainer.

Participants learned the basics of LEGO MINDSTORMS and how they function.  They worked in teams to build a simple robot, then designed programs to perform specific tasks.

The WOW factor:

LEGOs are an instant connection for people and adults are amazed at the variety of topics that youth have to explore.

This was the first training we held to really focus on the technical side of LEGO MINDSTORMS.  Many of our volunteers trainings held in recent years have focused on positive youth development; how adults can build life skills in youth; how adults can work in partnership with youth.  This training was focused on a new and quickly growing interest area of robotics.

While we originally planned to train volunteers within a 10 county area (Regions 2&3), we ended up training 32 adult and youth volunteers from 17 counties over the course of two days.

Growth:

Twenty-nine adults and three youth participated in this training.  Eighteen are currently working with FLL teams in their respective counties as coaches or mentors.  Five have plans to begin this type of program in the next year.  The initial evaluation was a self-report by participants of the value of the training. Overwhelming the value stated was the hands-on time building and programming with the product.  The adults increased their comfort level with how to build and program; as well as received information on web resources as they work with youth.  As stated by one participant, “This training gave me the opportunity to better understand the LEGO MINDSTORMS, so now I feel that I can approach individuals to possibly take on this outstanding project area. It was a lot fun and I can definitely see why young people become excited about it.

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