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A Proposal To Incorporate Lego® Mindstorms Into An Introduction To Engineering Course

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.94.1 - 7.94.8



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Paper Authors

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Joe Wakeman-Linn

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Alex Perry

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Session 2793

A Proposal To Incorporate LEGO® Mindstorms™ into an Introduction to Engineering Course

Joseph Wakeman-Linn, Alex Perry Montgomery Blair High School Silver Spring, Maryland


Hands-on experiences excite interest in engineering students. Freshmen tend to be more interested in applications than theory, but they have many math and science courses confronting them before they can effectively apply what they learn. A freshman year course that shows engineering students the applications of the theory would help maintain a high level of interest. This paper introduces a robotics unit to give students that hands-on experience. Designed to be included in an introductory engineering class at the University of Wyoming, this unit utilizes the versatile components included in the LEGO® Mindstorms™ system. The unit addresses various concepts related to engineering principles and real life applications, such as remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and the integration of different components. Students working through this unit would design and build a series of robots beginning with one that uses a touch sensor to maneuver around obstacles and ending with a robot that mimics an animal's behavior, such as eating and sleeping. The construction requires a basic grasp of mechanical engineering concepts, and some programming ability, but use of the kits requires no previous skills. The LEGO®s kit encourages problem solving and teamwork. The unit was piloted with a pair of volunteer interns, both rising high school seniors. The volunteers worked with the unit in seven one-hour sessions. The interns chose to put in extra time to work on their projects, demonstrating the enthusiasm inspired by both the materials and the projects.


Hands-on experiences are vital to stimulating the interest of college students. Nowhere is this more true than in engineering and robotics. Students want to know what awaits them when they have completed their math, computer, and science courses. Showing students interesting future possibilities will help motivate them and encourage them to continue, where many students might otherwise drop out or change fields. A robotics unit utilizing LEGO ® Mindstorms™ has been designed and is currently under consideration for inclusion by the University of Wyoming College of Engineering in one or more of its introductory courses. This unit accomplishes two goals. It creates interest in robotics and engineering, and it encourages creativity and teamwork among students.

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engin eering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Wakeman-Linn, J., & Perry, A. (2002, June), A Proposal To Incorporate Lego® Mindstorms Into An Introduction To Engineering Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10409

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