Tag Archives: kids

How a team of 2 kids + adult rookies won a Robot Sumo competition

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Last night our Lego Mindstorms robot “Robit” somehow managed to win the Robot Sumo competition at the GOTO conference in Copenhagen! (here’s also an article in Mälarö Tidning)

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Pretty frickin’ amazing considering that this was a big software development conference with lots of super-experienced developers competing, and our robot was mostly built by two kids – David and Jenny Kniberg (11yrs and 10yrs old) – the only kids at the conference.  Their robot didn’t just win once – it outmaneuvered and outwrestled the competing robots in every match!

Here’s the final, Robit to the left:

So how could a newbie team win the competition so decisively?

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Programming with kids & co-speaking with my son :)

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Yesterday me and Dave (11 yrs) spoke together for the first time! We did a public talk at Spotify about how to help kids learn to program. We’ve been experimenting a lot with that in my family (4 kids to experiment with… muahahaha), and wanted to share some learnings. Worked out better than we could have hoped, considering all the risky tech demos and live coding involved 🙂

Shared the stage with teacher Frida Monsén who talked about how to get this kind of stuff into schools. Thanks Helena Hjertén for organizing this, and Spotify for hosting & sponsoring. Here’s an article in Computer Sweden about this event and our little “mod club”.

Here are the slides! They are in Swedish though. Might do an English version of this talk some day 🙂

Dave on Stage

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Programming with kids using LearnToMod and Minecraft

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I’ve spent years experimenting with how to teach kids programming, mostly using Scratch. But now we’ve found a new favorite: LearnToMod! Kids love Minecraft, and LearnToMod is entirely based on Minecraft, so it’s a perfect match!

We now do a Mod Club every Saturday evening, my older kids (9 & 11 years old) and some of their friends. It’s basically a programming school based on LearnToMod and Minecraft programming. Reeeeaaaally fun, the kids go wild (OK, me too)! AND they learn lots while doing it. To them it’s “magic powers”, not “programming skills”.

I made a 5 minute video showing how it works:

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London – Learning to travel with 4 small kids

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Having fun in London, beta-testing the concept of travelling with 4 small kids. We wanted to make it a challenge – if anything is to go wrong we’d rather it goes wrong on this short trip, than on the big trip after summer (we’re planning to do a 6 month round-the-world trip). So all the kids (except our youngest, 1 yrs old) got to pack & carry all of their own stuff all the way.

And no cabs or cars, which meant walking 1 km to the bus on gravel & dirt roads + a whole bunch of switching between buses, planes, subways, trains, escalators, elevators, stairs, etc, in both Stockholm and London.

It wasn’t easy, but it worked better than expected! And the kids seemed to enjoy being responsible for their own stuff. Now we feel more confident about the big trip. We also have an ever-growing list of lessons learned so far.

One clear lesson so far is that travelling with small kids is all about motivation! As long as they all WANT to come along, everything is pretty much OK. However whenever one or two don’t want to come along, then things get really difficult really quickly. So find ways to keep things fun! And always carry snacks & water.

Along the way we developed a travel slogan "häng med, håll ihop, och var glad!" which means something like "come along, stay together, and have fun!"

Here are some more photos.