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Integrating The Internet, Lab View(Tm), And Lego Bricks Into Modular Data Acquisition And Analysis Software For K College

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.376.1 - 5.376.15

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Paper Authors

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Merredith D Portsmore

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Martha N. Cyr

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Chris B. Rogers

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2320

Integrating the Internet, LabVIEW, and Lego Bricks into Modular Data Acquisition and Analysis Software for K-College

Merredith Portsmore, Martha Cyr, Chris Rogers Tufts University


Both data acquisition and analysis are used in different forms from kindergarten through college for teaching math, science, and engineering. The RCX, the LEGO programmable brick, has a 10 bit A/D, can acquire points at up to 200 Hz and store up to 2000 points, making it well suited for simple to advanced data acquisition. ROBOLAB, produced in partnership by Tufts University, LEGO DACTA, and National Instruments, allows users to program the RCX in a graphical environment powered by LabVIEW. Initially designed to handle only robotics creations, the cross platform software has been extended to allow users to use a variety of sensors to take data and analyze it. The new component of the software, titled Investigator, accommodates the wide range of ages with 5 sections, each with a number of different templates, where users can write their hypothesis and conclusions, create their data acquisition programs, upload and view their data, and perform calculations and comparisons. The templates in each section allow for different levels to be available to the users -- ranging from templates with large icons and few options for elementary school students to completely open ended levels with all options available for college students. To encourage the exchange of data and results, the ability to share programs, data, and results over the web has been built into software. The web also serves to allow the software to expand and change as new templates can be downloaded and added to the software as needed. Finally, LEGO creations can be controlled remotely via the Internet. This paper will present some of the issues associated with developing software for such a diverse audience as well as assessment of how it has worked, both at the elementary school and college level.

I. Introduction

Data acquisition and analysis are introduced to students at an early age. In kindergarten, for example, students often record whether it is a sunny or cloudy day by crossing off the appropriate box on a piece of large graph paper. They use the information they gather to answer questions -- "Did we have more cloudy or sunny days this week?" or "Which month had the most sunny days?" Collecting data and using it to answer questions helps 5 and 6 year olds to learn about the weather as well as mathematical and comparison skills. At the college level, data acquisition and analysis are an essential part of the sciences as well as all engineering disciplines. The two topics play an important role in courses ranging from instrumentation to advanced fluid mechanics.

Portsmore, M. D., & Cyr, M. N., & Rogers, C. B. (2000, June), Integrating The Internet, Lab View(Tm), And Lego Bricks Into Modular Data Acquisition And Analysis Software For K College Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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