Friday, September 15, 2006

LEGO Mindstorms NXT Obsession

Yes my older son is obsessed with his new LEGO Mindstorms NXT.

UPS delivered it on Wednesday right before dinner. He ran upstairs to open the box, as did our younger son. They then proceeded to open every plastic bag and dump all the components into a pile. This was happening as my husband was finishing making dinner and I was on the computer.

After dinner when I surveyed the situation I pointed out that the directions said to use the quick start kit to make an easy first project. Whoops, rather than reading the directions to realize that they had opened that kit and mixed in all those parts with all the others. The first project (Alpha 1) was made with my husband that night with success. My husband and my older son are learning how the program works, it is not hard.

The building continued yesterday and last night until I forced them to put it away at bedtime. My husband pointed out that it would be easier to make if my son would read the directions. At bedtime I told him to read the directions before going to sleep rather than reading some other book of his choice, and he read half of the manual. As soon as he woke up today he started working on the second half of Alpha 2. I am so happy that he is immersed in this that I am letting him procrastinate on eating breakfast and getting on with what we have to do this morning.

My younger son is interested in the Mindstorms as more of an observer and a helper.

My older son is elated and in ‘pure bliss’ with this project. I love seeing him that way. I am going to try to figure out how I can find more things for him to do that are so close to his desire to work with building tools, robotics, and electronics. My son has always been able to spend many hours per day immersed in projects if he loves them. In his early years it was 6-8 hours a day of building wooden train track with his Thomas trains. Then it went to playing with LEGOs and now the robotics component has been added into the LEGOs.

I feel badly that today I want to do some errands that will tear him away from the project. I have decided to flip my today and Saturday, today while the roads are near empty I’ll do a ton of annoying errands including (gasp) my first mall trip in years (I can’t remember the last time I was in a mall, perhaps it has been 4 years). Then on Saturday we’ll do our homeschooling lessons. I usually don’t do that but I just want to get these errands done today when I can do them with less stress and more quickly.

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