Introduction: The Legoduino Circuit Learning Project

This project was created/designed/the brainchild of a 9-year-old girl. She has her own profile, NerdyCrochet, now that she is thirteen (2017) and legally able to publish her own instructables.



My daughter is the inventor of this Lego Circuit/Arduino Learning Project, I just helped with the pictures and the write-up of this instructable. She builds circuits here at home and has also been learning about Arduino and programming. She came to me one day with copies of real electronic components built out of Legos so she could practice making the circuits on her own. I thought it was so cool that it deserved to be shared with the instructable world.

Note: These Lego components don't actually transmit electricity or work like a live circuit. These are toys to create mock-ups of real circuit boards. My daughter uses the Lego components to double check her circuit diagrams so she doesn't accidentally blow up an LED on the real circuit board.

Following are a few of her creations. We hope you enjoy looking through the pictures and please let her know what you think. I'm sure there are other ways of building these electronic components out of Legos that are closer to the real-life examples, but hey, this is what my child came up with and I'm pretty darn proud of her. The fun of creating these models is digging through a pile of bricks and using your imagination--she challenges you to come up with some creative models of your own!

(To see a video of the Legoduino in action, skip to step 12.)

Step 1: Leads

Here are real leads and her Lego version leads--pretty self explanatory.  Both versions of Lego leads she found closely resemble the actual leads used in real circuit boards.

Step 2: Switch

This is a real switch on the left, and her version on the right made out of Legos. 

Step 3: Resistors

The real resistors are on the left, her Lego resistors on the right.

Step 4: LEDs

The real LEDs on the left and her Lego version on the right.  

Step 5: Potentiometer

A real potentiometer on the left, her Lego version on the right.  Also an expanded/exploded view where (1) is the bottom level of the component.

Step 6: Light Sensor

The real light sensor on the left, her version made out of Legos on the right.  Also an expanded/exploded view where (1) is the bottom level of the component.

Step 7: 1.5V Battery

Her version of a 1.5 volt (AA) battery.  She has the cathode and anode brightly colored for easy connection of her Lego leads.  Also an expanded/exploded view where (1) is the bottom level of the component.

Step 8: 9V Battery

Her Lego version of a 9 volt battery on the right.  Also an expanded/exploded view where (1) is the bottom level of the component.  She has the anode and cathode parts of the battery brightly colored for easy reference for the leads.

Step 9: Bread Board

A real bread board on the left, her Lego version on the right.  She was very specific that her Lego board had five rows of connections, just like the real bread board.  (Here, the real bread board pictured is a double version of her single Lego board.)  In the expanded/exploded view of the component, (1) is the bottom level.

Step 10: Arduino and USB Cable

How her Lego Arduino board stacks up against a real Arduino.  Also pictured, a Lego USB cable to connect into her Lego Arduino.  In the expanded/exploded view of the Arduino component, (1) is the bottom level.

Step 11: Multimeter

A real multimeter versus her Lego multimeter.  In the expanded/exploded view, (1) is the bottom level of the component.

Step 12: Legoduino in Action!

Comments

author
gtoal (author)2014-06-17

This is indeed very cool and exactly what LEGO is all about - but now
that she's done these great mockups, why don't you do a mother+daughter
collaboration and go on to make an actual working electronics kit that
looks like her mockup? It'll be the perfect excuse for you to buy that
3D printer you've always wanted... (You *have* been hankering for one,
right? ;-) )

author
kellechu (author)gtoal2014-06-17

Hmmmm. Are you sure you are not my husband? Haha! That sounds like something he would say!

author
fbalandran (author)2014-01-19

Awesome creativity!!

author
GpaSteve (author)2014-01-11

Very cool

author
Dr MonkeyMan (author)2013-12-21

Smart kid!

author
kmjrmalfunction (author)2013-11-21

Very intelligent young lady. My 6 year old loves Legos and is a licensed ham and this has inspired me to start his electronics training and be able make it fun for him as he loves Legos.

author
rbennett8 (author)2013-10-11

thats cool, nice job to both of you :)

author
The Fig (author)2013-08-20

Congratulation's on the 'Most Useful' award. Well done.

author
www139 (author)2013-08-20

cool!

author
wold630 (author)2013-08-20

This is awesome! I can't wait to show my son what your amazingly creative daughter has come up with! She should be very proud of herself!!!

author
kellechu (author)wold6302013-08-20

Thank you! I'll let her know what you said. She is a crazy ambitious girl--she wants to do everything and be everything. She is only one belt away from her blackbelt in Taekwondo, loves math and inventing things, and now wants to program her father's raspberry pi for Minecraft.

author
Zachary4801 (author)2013-07-24

I love this! It is so cool! Where did she get the idea for this? I do some stuff, like these. Only real stuff. This sounds like a really fun project! Arduino is the best! great idea! Your daughter is awesome!!!!!

author
kellechu (author)Zachary48012013-08-05

Thank you, we think she is pretty neat as well! She is going through the Make:Electronics book with her father for several months now and I think she wanted to play around with the circuits even when he had put everything away (we have a toddler in the house and have to keep everything out of reach), so she made herself mock-ups in Legos that she could mess around with even if the real things weren't available for her to use right then.

author
mamalaoshi (author)2013-08-05

Your daughter is very well spoken. She must have practiced before making the video. I don't know much about circuits but I felt like she explained the process very clearly and I learned something from watching the video. How creative to use legos!

author
kellechu (author)mamalaoshi2013-08-05

Thank you! I'll let her know what you said--she'll be very excited to hear that. She is a smart girl and likes to teach others.

author
HollyMann (author)2013-07-07

I agree with Mike - this is a very creative way to use Lego and learn more about programming and Arduino. My 8 year old son is very interested in both of these right now. :) Thanks!

author
Zachary4801 (author)HollyMann2013-07-24

Another thing he could try would be the Lego Mindstorm! It has simple programming, lots of things to build that can be found on the Internet, and is a
Retry cheep robot(compared to others). I would highly recommend this too!

author
Zachary4801 (author)HollyMann2013-07-24

If he wanted he could try out this book: "Make: Electronics" it is great I am using it right now and it is really helpful! If you have some time on your hands I would recommend going through it with him. (there is a lot of reading) Unless he likes reading! There is a kit you need to buy for the first part. It is costly but worth it! Then for the second part you need to buy another kit. You could just do one part. Once you are done you can use the parts in lots of fun things(like the snap circuits). You may need to wait till he is older. It is a great book though and I would highly recommend it!

author
kellechu (author)HollyMann2013-07-07

She is a sponge when it comes to new things, and it doesn't hurt that she is the oldest of her siblings and therefore has the longest attention span when it comes to programming and circuits! Her father has showed her several programming languages so far and she has already written a few programs as well. I'm trying to get him to teach an after school club at her elementary school--I think other kids her age would "get it" as quick as she has.

author
HollyMann (author)kellechu2013-07-07

That's great! My son also loves learning and is into some programming - has she ever used "Scratch"? What programming languages has she written in? I am just curious as I used to do programming a bit! The after school club sounds like a great idea - I would talk to the principle. I offered to volunteer and help at my son's school last year and then it turned into the principle offering me a job with their after school program. We did DIY arts and crafts stuff though. I think the lego/programming/robotics sounds so awesome! Great idea!!!

author
kellechu (author)HollyMann2013-07-07

She has done a little bit in Scratch, but not a lot, because her father was getting frustrated with it--it was difficult to even do the simple things that other programs could easily do. So he quickly moved her on to Python, PHP, and Java Script. I help run a chess club in an after-school program at her school, so it would be great if we could get a programming club started up as well (though not on the days I teach chess!). That is cool you got offered a job at your son's school doing DIY crafts--I wish we had stuff like that when I went to school!

author
skwanski (author)2013-07-14

Kudos to your daughter! This is absolutely fabulous and something my nine year old will love. Thanks for sharing.

author
sath02 (author)2013-07-08

WOW, Very nice! Very creative!
Great interactive toy!
I really love this project!
I like the potentiometer, it looks like it is rotatable too.
Thanks for sharing.

author
seawee65 (author)2013-07-07

It would be REALLY cool if someone would actually put resistors, LEDs, wires, batteries, and all that stuff into Lego Bricks so you could use it as a real circuit!

(maybe I should try it)

author
kellechu (author)seawee652013-07-07

You should! I saw some products aimed at teaching children how circuits work using "snap" pieces that contained the resistors, wires, etc. at toy stores. But since my daughter was already building the real thing, I never grabbed the boxes to check it out more.

author
gcanders (author)2013-07-07

What a great way to teach resistor values. I imagine all the colors would be there, maybe the gold would be a hard one to get, but I think this all terrific. I bet you could send this idea into a Lego "set" idea contest, and it would easily win.

author
kellechu (author)gcanders2013-07-07

Thanks! She can do the resistor math on paper and knows the colored bands represent different values. I liked how she incorporated this onto her Lego resistors as well. It would be neat if Lego put out a set like this. Most of the pieces she used are standard Lego bricks, which is great for others to reproduce using her instructable.

author
mikeasaurus (author)2013-07-07

This is a very creative use of LEGO, and a neat learning tool.
Your daughter is very smart to think of this.

author
kellechu (author)mikeasaurus2013-07-07

Thanks! I thought it was pretty neat too when she showed me it several weeks ago. She is in the middle of creating her own Lego instruction book with her own original designs (she is a third generation Lego fanatic), and was trying to decide which creation she wanted to enter in the building block contest. She is happy you like it!

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Bio: Once a mechanical and materials engineer that worked on rockets, I am now a stay-at-home mom to three incredible children who let me craft and ... More »
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