LEGO Inspiration: Duplo Motorized Train

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In LEGO Inspiration today, we will show you what we found interesting in the current LEGO DUPLO train sets.

Even though these LEGO DUPLO sets are “geared” (haha) more for ages 2-5, these trains have features that help the next generation to learn about robotics. We really like that sets like these help kids (that might not even be old enough yet for FIRST LEGO League) to consider different ways to use “blocks” to tell a robot what to do, as well as learn about sensors. Maybe these sets will get all kids, girls and boys, interested in robotics!

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Have Fun With Your EV3 and Power Functions

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While we were creating our project prototype out of LEGOs, we found awesome aftermarket equipment from a company called Mindsensors that allows an EV3 to be able to talk to a Power Functions IR Receiver, enabling an EV3 to control LEGO Power Functions! Power Functions is a sub-section of LEGO that is mostly used in older motorized LEGO Technic sets, LEGO train sets, and the original WeDo. LEGO Power Functions included motors of different sizes, as well as lights. The Mindsensors’ PFMate controller can hook up to an EV3 with just a regular EV3 wire! Mindsensors also has a downloadable EV3 block already available! These Mindsensors after-market components are not made by LEGO, though, so they cannot be used as part of the FIRST LEGO League robot game (actually, even the Power Functions elements are excluded from the robot game). However, they might help you with developing a project prototype (how we discovered them) or you may just want to use them for fun with your EV3! In this article, we will show you how this interesting after-market component is used.

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#FIRSTLikeAGirl Women in STEM Build Event

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Some of our team had the awesome opportunity to attend the Houston area #FIRSTLikeAGirl Women in STEM Build Event at Space Center Houston today. We had some great talks about what it means to be allies for each other in STEM. We also had fun helping to encourage all the rookie FIRST girls as they start their own great robotics journeys with their teams. It was also great to be inspired by FIRST teams older than us, as well as females in engineering.

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We Love Angles!

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As part of messing around with pieces and looking for angles to help fix a FLL attachment we were working on, one of our team members built this heart made out of angles. Angles are awesome! We kept this Technic “doodle” around to take pictures of it to share with you. So Happy St. Valentine’s Day and have fun learning about Technic angles!

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LEGO Fidget Spinners

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Today we are going to talk about having fun with your Technic and EV3 pieces. For our FLL team, part of sitting around and building robots and attachments involves build “doodling.” We are not doodling on paper. We are “doodling” with the LEGO pieces themselves! We are building little structures as we mess with the pieces, learning how they work and coming up with new ideas. One of our recent ideas was to make LEGO Technic fidget spinners!

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“Into Orbit” Kick-off Celebration for ACES-East

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On Saturday, September 5, our local FIRST LEGO League (FLL) organization hosted a Kick-off Celebration for the Into Orbit 2018-2019 season at Space Center Houston. This is Houston’s first year to be part of ACES for FIRST in Texas. Some of the team was sick and couldn’t come, but luckily one of team mascots was able to make it — BURN-E our FIRST bear!

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Remember to Have Fun with Your EV3!

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One of the FLL core values is about having fun and enjoying what we do. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in using LEGO EV3 for FIRST LEGO League, to learn about simple and complex machines, or for other schoolwork. FIRST encourages us to have fun while we do our work. But, it is good to remember to make sure you take some time to have a break and to just have fun, too! When you have time, you should make up your own missions and challenges! By making your own challenges you can learn, have fun, and take a break from all the stressing work of robotics.

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