A Different Monday Morning!

Akshara Foundation organised a LEGO WEDO Workshop along with the LEGO Foundation for an enthusiastic bunch of volunteers from Robert Bosch on 24th and 25th June 2013 at the Government Kannada Higher Primary School, Vivek Nagar, Bangalore. Manoj Kumar Mahalingam of Robert Bosch who shares his experience with us.


On 24/6/2013, unlike every Monday, I had the privilege of sleeping a little longer than usual and so I bravely protested the early sun’s mutiny. Eventually, I woke up to remember my destiny that day was not office but on the contrary, a school. With an unusual rate of adrenaline for a Monday morning, I hurried up and in no time reached the school.

A well-known NGO, Akshara Foundation that works on improvisation and facilitation of education, particularly at the pre-school and primary school level. They started a venture with LEGO Foundation of Denmark where teaching becomes more creative with the colourful LEGO bricks.  As I grasped, my purpose with 8 of my colleagues is to learn and teach the children who yearn for…

We were 9 members from RBEI who volunteered for this event, 4 other volunteers of Akshara Foundation joined us in “LEGO ROBOTICS WORKSHOP”. We were addressed by a motivational speech about Akshara’s work and principles; its idea to facilitate child education in an organized way was indeed inspirational.

 On the second day of the workshop, we were asked to be seated in teams of 2 with a Lego kit and a laptop with the “WEDO” software in it. Casper, from Lego Foundation started the exercise with a simple tower construction with the Lego bricks. It was like time travel, in few minutes, I was revisiting my childhood days. My eagerness and childlike creativity was at its best that day. Eventually we got to use motors, infrared sensor (motion detection) and accelerometer (tilt sensor). Being an Electronics Engineer it was absolute fun for me to use them. When it came to programming, software was designed so as to make it user-friendly for the kids. Simple drag and drop blocks with Lego symbols such as to make the models work.

As the workshop continued, we simulated a football game with a kicker and a keeper. This was not all we also experimented with each model made emphasizing on how kids would understand teaching concepts. We sprung our creative ideas to fly free in several aspects and that too without conscience.  By the end of workshop we had several models like alligator that could snap its mouth open on sensing movement, a roaring lion that could sit on its hind legs and stand, a crane that could lift a person, a monkey that played drums, a bird with flapping wings and an airplane that modified its engine speed upon direction of tilt.

The main idea was to see how children would take it?  Would it be fun? Or would it be difficult to grasp?
As they say, Rome was not built in a day and so everything needs time, but the best way a child could learn is through play. You learn what you like, as you yearn what you want. After a good discussion, I headed back to office, and as I walked away, I looked back at school and children who were eager to take photographs with us.

I was that age and today I am here because I’m lucky to have got what I needed to succeed. This is their chance, why not provide what they need…

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