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I'd like to get my grandson started (aged 9) - he has had good experiences with the LEGO Mindstorms (with his school he entered the SW IET competition!) But LEGO is really expensive - so I'd be interested in other people's views?
If you can afford it, it is a fantastic system. I used to visit schools (as a STEM Ambassador) to teach 8/9/10/11 year olds to programme it and it was hilarious - before i started I'd explain to the teachers what I was going to do, and almost always they told me that it was too complicated and the children wouldn't get it. Not only did they always get it, they'd very often find things it would do that I didn't know it could do!
Personally I'd have thought Arduino is a bit "unfriendly" for a 9 year old (much though I personally like it, and it is nice and cheap), but I'd be prepared to be persuaded otherwise. I've always felt that Raspberry Pi ends up quite expensive by the time you've made it do anything, but I notice it does seem to have got rather cheaper now.
Great idea Nigel, I look forward to seeing what other ideas come up here!
My grandson's teacher invited interested parents to go to suggest/advise the School Lego Mindstorms team on the next phase of the IET Lego competition - they won their SW round and went on to the next round in Bristol. That was the first time I got to see Mindstorms close up - with his own kit (and maybe some support from Dad / Grandad -:) ) I think he might well 'get it' and it could become more than 'just a hobby' - but we'll have to see . . .
Once again - many thanks.