Robotic Construction Winter Seminar

  • Learning
Yi Ching Hsieh, Middle Grades Chinese Teacher

This year we introduced the Winter Seminar into our regular school calendar, and it was a complete success. During Winter Seminar, middle grades students spent one week taking just two electives – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – chosen from a catalog of more than 40 options. In our robotic construction course, students were challenged to reach the next level of block coding and robot design by building their own pinball machine using Lego EV3 Mindstorms bricks. Students also used multi-sensors to construct the challenge course and learned how to do block coding on the EV3 education programming system.

This course was designed to encourage students to look into the coding field. Math and physics were also built into the course – students had to apply these concepts when building their pinball table with Lego bricks. And through the creative process of building, students also learned about structural integrity and developed spatial reasoning skills and a practical sense of geometry. 

On the first day, students built their tables using pine, wood glue, a clamper and a nail gun. They also learned to build arms for their pinball machines.

Creating the pinball tables

The following day, students learned how to program the EV3 system, discovered how the sensor works and designed their challenge course.

Day two of the robotics course

On day three, after the students finished most of the design and were in the process of building, we ran a “critical friend” workshop, during which students walked around the room and gave each team one piece of positive feedback and one piece of constructive feedback to help them deliver a more complex and robust design.

Day three of the robotics winter seminar

On the fourth day, students completed the challenge course and made any final adjustments to the design or programming. 

Day four of the robotics winter seminar
Day four of the robotics winter seminar

Then, on the final day, we invited parents and friends to see our final projects. Everyone had a lot of fun! Both parents and students enjoyed seeing what we created in this course.

The last day of the robotics winter seminar
The last day of the robotics winter seminar
The last day of the robotics winter seminar
The last day of the robotics winter seminar
The last day of the robotics winter seminar


  • 6th Grade
  • 7th Grade
  • 8th Grade
  • Middle Grades Program
  • Upper Division
  • Winter Seminar