Project

LEGO Wayfinder

The LEGO Wayfinder project combines LEGO, robotics, and seawater into a playground of project-based learning and citizen science for budding engineers and explorers. As part of this outreach program, our team has developed a first prototype of a buildable LEGO marine exploration vehicle kit—addressing some of the design challenges of building for the underwater context.

Our aim is to build an awareness of the state of the aquatic environment and instill a greater responsibility in shaping our interactions with the environment. To do so, young people will view underwater wonders of the world with their robots and get outside to explore their local waterway. Our approach embraces Seymour Papert’s model of "low floors" (where getting started is easy), and "high ceilings," where students can pour their time and collaborative work efforts into creative engineering solutions to carry out a marine science experiment of their own design in the field.

Using this kit, we kicked off our outreach program in the summer of 2018 with the National Geographic Student Expeditions at MIT, where we hosted 40 high school students for tw… View full description

The LEGO Wayfinder project combines LEGO, robotics, and seawater into a playground of project-based learning and citizen science for budding engineers and explorers. As part of this outreach program, our team has developed a first prototype of a buildable LEGO marine exploration vehicle kit—addressing some of the design challenges of building for the underwater context.

Our aim is to build an awareness of the state of the aquatic environment and instill a greater responsibility in shaping our interactions with the environment. To do so, young people will view underwater wonders of the world with their robots and get outside to explore their local waterway. Our approach embraces Seymour Papert’s model of "low floors" (where getting started is easy), and "high ceilings," where students can pour their time and collaborative work efforts into creative engineering solutions to carry out a marine science experiment of their own design in the field.

Using this kit, we kicked off our outreach program in the summer of 2018 with the National Geographic Student Expeditions at MIT, where we hosted 40 high school students for two days of workshops at MIT Sea Grant and New England Aquarium. The young people built on top of the kit, making the marine explorer more sophisticated and customized in order to execute marine science experiments of their design.

Going forward, we will be developing the next prototype focusing on watertight sensors and the ease and operability of the underwater build kit allowing for even more playful and creative transformations when in the hands of the students. With future prototypes we will adapt this programming for wider student audiences in after-school programs, classrooms, libraries, and community-based mentor clubs for youth.

Team Members

  • Katy Croff Bell (MIT Media Lab)
  • Jenni Szlosek Chow (MIT Media Lab)
  • Tom Consi (MIT Sea Grant)
  • Philipp Schmidt (MIT Media Lab)
  • Katherine McConachie (MIT Media Lab)
  • Avery Normandin (MIT Media Lab)
  • Dan Novy (MIT Media Lab)
  • Rachel Hwang (Wellesley UROP)
  • John Paris (MIT UROP)
  • Daniel Mathiasen (FRVR, previously at LEGO Education)
  • Marcel Schouwenaar (The Incredible Machine)
  • Harm van Beek (The Incredible Machine)
  • Michelle Carnevale (11th Hour Racing)