Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Some Exciting News: 200,012 Pageviews Plus Marine Maker Fair Project #2: Lotta Love for LEGO!!!

First, want to quickly say thank you to all of the readers of Sunrise Learning Lab. 
As I began to write this post, we have had 200,012 Pageviews!!!
Thank you so much for reading our blog and for following along as we grow our Sunrise Learning Lab!
Our sons were very excited today and they cannot wait to tell our students tomorrow when they come that we have passed 200,000 pageviews!!!

Today's Marine Maker Fair Project #2 involves our love of all things LEGO!
For the actual Marine Maker Fair #nagc14 presentation that we did in Baltimore, we shared about LEGO Education's StoryStarter set. Every person who attended Creativity Night and stopped by our tables to check out what we were sharing was given a package of StoryStarter LEGO to take and try with their students.
It was pretty great to be able to share our love of LEGO with the generous freebie from LEGO Education.
These are shots of the StoryStarter sets that we were able to give to all of the Creativity Night participants thanks to the generosity of LEGO Education! Can't thank them enough!
The LEGO Education StoryStarter Set is great for any homeschool or school program. It works well with all elementary and middle school aged children. A booklet that accompanies the set gives ideas to jump start student creativity.
Our boys had originally attended a LEGO Education workshop at LEGOLAND Florida. That is where they first had the opportunity to explore what LEGO StoryStarter is all about...and they loved it! LEGOLAND Florida has been very good to students, both homeschool groups and school groups. We have participated in many of their special days and have really expanded our love of trying LEGO classes there, as well as going on all of the rides and seeing all of the various shows there. Even though LEGOLAND Florida was not a sponsor for our Marine Maker Fair, feel that a shout out here in this post is appropriate, since they have given us so many opportunities to come try out various LEGO Education sets in their classes. That is how we knew for sure that we wanted to buy LEGO EV3 Mindstorms, as nothing sells a LEGO Education product faster than getting to first try it out in one of their classes! So huge props to both LEGO Education and LEGOLAND Florida from all of us at Sunrise Learning Lab!

So when we found out that we were going to present at the Marine Maker Fair, we were thrilled when we were told that LEGO Education would donate these sets for each and every Creativity Night participant!
What we did not get to bring due to the logistics of getting it up to Baltimore, was our LEGO EV3 Mindstorms Sets, including the LEGO EV3 Space Challenge.
We also love LEGO WeDo Robotics, especially for younger children.
While we would have loved to have brought our LEGO EV3 Mindstorms sets for everyone to see in person, it was not possible for us to bring not only our awesome LEGO EV3 Mindstorms sets, but also our two custom tables, and our two laptops.
So we shared by talking about what an impact LEGO EV3 Mindstorms and LEGO WeDo Robotics has had on our students mostly by talking about the experiences that they have given the boys.
Little Bro working on LEGO WeDo Robotics.
Little Bro programming his LEGO WeDo Robotics project.

Our family has always loved LEGO, ever since our boys were very little.
My hubby grew up playing with LEGO and had actually saved his bin of LEGO from when he was a boy. That bin has been added to our collection of LEGO.
If you plan to do a Maker Fair, you could use the LEGO StoryStarter sets very easily to coordinate with virtually any theme that your Maker Fair might use.
LEGO Hero Factory and LEGO Mixels also work well for jump starting the storytelling process with children, so keep that in mind too if you decide to organize a Maker Fair. 
What we had done to make the LEGO StoryStarter sets tie in with our Marine Maker Fair theme of sea life is that we brought along additional pieces, including sharks, fish, crabs, and sea themed mini figs.
If you would want to include LEGO EV3 Mindstorms into your Maker Fair, you could do it, provided that you can find a good way to transport your EV3 Mindstorms custom tables.
Or the other thought would be to use any tables that you can access but to build a barrier around the entire perimeter of the table so that the LEGO EV3 Mindstorms will stay on the table safely.
Another LEGO extension that we actually discovered upon returning from Baltimore was one that Big Bro came up with on his own: he took what originally was an art project that was supposed to use beads to make a dolphin pin and turned it into a LEGO build.
It turned out really well, but the best thing was that he LOVED creating it!
So, if you do decide to create a Maker Fair for your school or homeschool group, suggest that in addtion to the LEGO StoryStarter Sets and LEGO EV3 Mindstorms, that you set up a table where children can free build something that ties in with your Maker Fair theme.
Would suggest that two to four children can easily share a bin at one time, although ideally, you could have it worked out that every child has their own bin of LEGO to use.
Here are some photos that show some of what we do here with respect to all things LEGO:
Big Bro building LEGO EV3 Mindstorms
The boys love building their LEGO EV3 Mindstorms! Our students come every Thursday for up to three hours to work on LEGO EV3 Mindstorms. It has been a great experience for our sons and for all of the students in our program. We are looking forward to competing in friendly LEGO EV3 Mindstorms Challenges this Spring, once everyone on our team is old enough to compete!!!
One of their favorite LEGO EV3 Mindstorms builds! This week, we are going to attend a Florida LEGO League Competition to get a feel of what to expect for the Spring. Everyone is very excited about this upcoming event! Should be fun!
LEGO Hero Factory works great for storytelling too! All of the boys enjoy building with LEGO Hero Factory here, as well as at LEGOLAND Florida when we go there!
LEGO Mixels are quick and easy to build so if you have limited time and want your students to be able to build as well as focus on storytelling in the same class period, these are a great way to go! You can easily adapt any LEGO Mixels into sea animals.
Any sort of project originally designed to fit into a grid or that is designed to be in pixels can easily be tweaked to be LEGO builds. The project here was originally meant to be a dolphin bead project that got turned into a LEGO build by Big Bro.
Big Bro changed out some of the original design of what was to be a dolphin beaded jewelry project to make it into this LEGO build. He LOVED working on this!

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We are happy to announce our gifted pilot program starting Fall of 2014!

We are happy to announce our gifted pilot program starting Fall of 2014!
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