Solar powered car chargers

May 11th, 2011

Here’s your chance to see new technology and how we teach at Great Minds Robotics

Picture yourself driving an electric sports car up the PCH. A quick glance at the dash says you’ve got about 50% charge. Sunlight flashing off an object ahead grabs your attention. It’s an intelligent, solar-powered charging station. You pull up next to it. Blinking blue lights agree with your gauge. Your car could use some juice. The station greets you by name and offers you a full charge in 3 minutes, 42 seconds. All you have to do is say yes and plug your vehicle in. The best part is that your charge is courtesy of the sun!

Sounds cool and futuristic, right? Turns out that your kids can experience this cool future now at Great Minds Robotics. Watch the video of this emerging technology recreated with Lego® Mindstorms NXT. This all happens right in our classrooms. Students learn to understand and then write the program for the charging station.

Solar powered car chargers. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Color-coded charge indication. These are just a few of the awesome things that happen when great minds go to work.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend one of our classes, take some time to watch the video. Compare our instruction style between the younger and older children. We adjust our teaching to match the age and ability of our students.

You can also watch this video on our Videos page. To get an even closer look at our learning center and meet us in-person, schedule a FREE VIP tour.

Great Minds Robotics is forming FLL Teams for 2011 Food Factor Challenge. Apply Now!

May 6th, 2011

Students of ages 9 through 14 are invited to apply for this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition. Applications are available to enrolled students at Great Minds Robotics location in Tarzana, CA.

We updated our FAQ section based on recent questions from our students and their parents. Please review this section, as it may answer many questions you might have about the FLL competition. Of course, if you don’t see an answer to your question, please contact us – we’ll be sure to address it.

While we do not have a schedule for training sessions yet, we plan to have a number of sessions in the summer, and weekly sessions starting September 2011. We will post the schedule as soon as we have it.

Check out this blog entry from last year’s FLL event for in-depth understanding of what FLL competitions entail, the challenges the kids have to overcome, and the awesome rewards our team earned last year.

Not yet a student at Great Minds Robotics? Give your son or daughter an opportunity to shine as they contribute to their team’s success. Enroll today!

Know someone else who might be interested? Refer a friend and we’ll be sure to thank you!

Classes are filling up

March 2nd, 2011

Enroll today to guarantee spots for your kids at Great Minds Robotics

Seats are filling up fast because we’re running a special offer from now until May 15th, 2011.
Classes are filling up
Save $35 on your child’s first four weeks of classes by printing and presenting this PDF (you may have already seen it as a postcard in your mailbox).

The PDF and postcard are for only new parents and students. However, we are not leaving out our loyal customers. If you have already enrolled your kids at Great Minds Robotics, you can get a $35 reward for every student enrolled by friends that you refer.

Come to think of it, that reward should go to anyone who makes a referral resulting in enrollment. If you know someone with kids that are into what we do here, please use our referral form to tell them about us.

Robotics for Kids: Inspiration for Innovation

February 11th, 2011

As I take notes on my students’ progress after teaching a typical Enhanced Robotics class at Great Minds Learning Center, I can’t help but smile. The students had a ton of fun. They built awesome robots and played with them. They noticed some “bugs” in mechanics and programming of their robots, and came up with amazing improvements. They made corrections, and played some more. As the class wrapped up, they did not want to leave. It was definitely fun. Yet, there is something far beyond playing with these awesome toys… I reminisced my own childhood, my commencement into the world robotics.

I always liked robots. I thought of robots as highly intelligent “human helpers” – not better or smarter than humans – after all, It’s humans that engineer and program them – but certainly more suited for a particular task. When I thought “robot”, I thought of Lt. Commander Data, an android from Star Trek, or the ever-helpful, super resourceful R2-D2 from Star Wars. I thought of Isaac Asimov, not “The Terminator”. I started learning computer programming at age 11, and given my fascination with robots, it was simply natural for me to get involved in robotics. After examining several platforms, I settled on LEGO Mindstorms as my platform of choice. Some years later, Great Minds Learning Center and Great Minds Robotics program were born.

I am thrilled and excited beyond expression to see the recent developments in the world of robotics. I see students at our center that are likely to be a part of, if not the leaders of, amazing robotics projects in the not-so-distant future. Projects like NASA’s ATHLETE:

… which, by the way, can also dance:

Projects like uBot-5, a personal assistant for the elderly:

Quite possibly, our students can be a significant part of projects that will place a robot into your home in the not-so-distant future. Check out the awesome work by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal of MIT:

Projects like these require knowledge and innovation. Here at Great Minds Learning Center, kids in grades K-12 engineer and program awesome robots every day. They find original solutions to various challenges they encounter while building and programming their creations. They learn valuable skills while playing with really cool robots. They have fun while expanding their knowledge.

Inspire your child to innovate. Enroll them into Great Minds Robotics today!

Happy New Year from Great Minds Learning Center!

December 30th, 2010

Launched in December 2009, Great Minds Learning Center wraps up its first full year of operation – 2010. Our students build many cool robots, and some very exciting robotic projects, such as the RoboGarage, and a Giant Ferris Wheel. Robotics and Enhanced Robotics students participated in exciting competitions, such a Medieval Robotics Competition and FLL Tournaments. Our FIRST LEGO League team – The NXT Generation – even got as far as Los Angeles Championship event, as one of only 40 teams [out of about 1,400 in the LA region]. We wrapped up the FLL season by winning the Quality Design Award for our robot at the Championship event:

With many new and exciting projects in store for 2011, we are very excited about our program for the upcoming year. We will be exploring green energy, such as solar and wind power. We will be making exciting games involving multiple robots. We will… give you more details in 2011. Enroll today to be a part of our exciting program in the upcoming year.

Want to learn how to build cool robots and compete with others in fierce, yet fun, tournaments? We are going to run two FLL teams for 2011’s Food Factor challenge – and we are looking for new team members now! Enroll today!

Happy New Year!

LEGO Creations – Reconstruction of the World’s Earliest Computer

December 15th, 2010

I just read this amazing article on MIT’s “Mims’s Bits” Technology Review blog, about an Apple engineer recreating an ancient Greek device – a mechanical computer, called the “Antikythera” mechanism. It was built over 2100 years ago (100 BC), and discovered in a shipwreck in 1901. This discovery was re-constructed; the LEGO design built by the Apple engineer is based on this reconstruction. It works by using precise gears, meshed in a particular way to perform mathematic calculations. Both the original device and the LEGO replica accurately preduct… solar eclipses!

Check out the original article here.

Great Minds Robotics students have not built an ancient Greek mechanical computer [yet]; but they do build and program plenty of cool and exciting projects in our classes and labs. Check out our Enhanced Robotics Curriculum for details!

Want to improve your LEGO building skills, so you too can make awesome LEGO creations? If you are a Great Minds Robotics student, join our LEGO workshop [or mini-workshop] on December 26 (check our schedule for details). Not a student yet? Sign up today!

Great Minds Robotics Students Win 1st Place in Los Angeles Region Qualifying FLL Tournament

November 15th, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010 was an awesome day for FLL Team 4428 – The NXT Generation – a FIRST LEGO League team consisting of 7 students attending the Enhanced Robotics Program at Great Minds Learning Center. Actually, it was an awesome weekend – two competitions (a Local and a Qualifying event), two First Place Robot Performance Awards (one in each competition), and a First Place Champion’s Award in the Qualifying Tournament, for a total of three awards! Of course, it takes much more than showing up to a competition to win an award – it takes hard work, many hours of training, learning, researching, practicing and solving challenges encountered along the way. It takes teamwork and team spirit. Even then, it’s not easy.

Great Minds Learning Center's FLL Team

Click here to read the full story…

Great Minds Robotics extends Workshop and Mini-Workshop hours

October 16th, 2010

Workshops that improve building skills

Here’s something value-added that we give away for free. All students enrolled in Robotics or Enhanced Robotics classes can attend a skill-building workshop focused on mechanical engineering. We provide LEGO® Technic sets full of gears, levers, and more. Your child provides the desire and excitement that makes everything we do here worthwhile. Robotics Class Mini-Workshops and Enhanced Robotics Class Workshops are held once a month.

Starting October 2010, we are increasing the duration of our workshops:

  • Mini-Workshop: from 90 minutes to 2 hours
  • Workshop: from 2 hours to 3 hours

Scheduled workshops:

  • Mini-Workshop: Sunday, Oct 24, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • Workshop: Sunday, Oct 24, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

If you are already enrolled in one of our robotics programs, please register for the upcoming workshop by October 23, 2010. If you are not yet enrolled, call us at 818-292-8008 to schedule a FREE VIP Tour.

We are listed in the business directory on MyFoxLA.com

October 16th, 2010

Please rate us, vote for us, and leave us a great review

Great Minds Learning Center – 18801 Ventura Blvd. #110 Tarzana, CA, 91356

How to operate a K’NEX Giant Ferris Wheel with a LEGO NXT brick and a TV remote control

October 14th, 2010

Great Minds Robotics students had a blast assembling the awesome 6-ft K’NEX Ferris Wheel we got for our lobby. However, in a Robotics center, no project is complete without, well, a robot. So we added a LEGO Mindstorms NXT brick, and a few cool sensors and devices to remedy the situation. The result? We now have a “really, really universal” TV remote control – check out the video for details:

Like this project? Get involved in fun robotics projects like this one. Enroll today!