Think about it: What are some 21st century skill and competencies our students can build while building with Lego?
Oh man, it seems like there are a lot of these skills that could be applied to Lego.
The first thing I noticed was that all four skills in the competencies section apply. Determining what pieces to use to bring your vision to life bring in critical thinking and creativity. As soon as you have multiple students working with Lego in one area they always starting offering opinions and sharing ideas. I always seem to get the most detailed explanations from kids when they are explain their Lego creations to you. My ten year old son created his own Lego iPad (can you tell he really wants his own tablet?) and the level of level of detail in his explanations floored me. He told me about and the icons he created on the screen and the about the ports he created on the sides! That level of detail doesn't usually come out in school work!
Many of the character qualities pop up as well. Curiosity, initiative, persistence and adaptability are on display when Lego comes out. I notice these qualities the most when kids are working on their own designs. To me that helps show the strengths that come from self-directed activities, and self directed activities are something that Makerspaces should foster, right?
I am in big favour of Lego in our classrooms. Working and building with Lego is more interesting and exciting than working with just pen and paper all the time. I have observed even a most reluctant learner also engaged and actively participating in activities planned around building. It is also motivational to build using Lego. As I mentioned earlier in our Science unit of Forces and Movement and Plants, we used simple Lego and We Do Lego kits. Students worked in groups of four. They had a question for Inquiry which we came up after considering some challenges in real life (after some research). They had to think of building something that can solve the problem in the Inquiry question. They had to design their own designs, discuss and share those designs in their group, come to an agreement for the best design or come up with one design for their group by mixing and matching best parts from their designs. They had to decide other materials required in combination with Lego to build the machine as per their design. After they were done building, they had to try their machines. They would reflect on if that machine is solving the problem or it needs some improvisation. It was great seeing them thinking hard to make their machines work and trying to come over challenges together as a group. When it was all done, they had to present it to the class. At every stage I was around, observing, asking questions leading to more critical thinking. This activities covered many curricular areas like language strands, some math strands, science and helped students learn character traits and learning skills/competencies that are necessary in the 21st century learning (given in the chart). It helps then develops more self - confidence and boosted their self-esteem.
I can't wait to get my hands on some LEGO Wedo kits!
I love building harry Potter Lego sets!!!!!
Lego is my personal favourite. All the competencies and character qualities could apply to Lego. I personally feel that collaboration should be a key skill when using Lego because children are familiar with using it Already. Makerspaces challenge schools to see opportunities not limitations. I find that quite often when students move into junior and intermediate grades we sometimes begin to limit how they should learn. Gone are the picture books. Gone are the math manipulatives. It's amazing how even our oldest students can benefit and learn using material like Lego.
Last year, I attended LEGO SERIOUS PLAY training - how professionals and teachers use LEGO to physically and mentally build metaphors to communicate and build team work. Expensive, but I really enjoyed it. LEGO.com Serious Play Home
YouTube video : LEGO SERIOUS PLAY for Education No one is too old to play meaningfully with LEGO!
I totally agree with you that when students reach junior and intermediate grades, they do lose opportunities to engage in hand-on learning.
I wasn't sure how junior students (particularly those in grade 6) as well as intermediate students would react to the idea of having a makerspace in the library. Would they embrace it or laugh at it? Would they think it was too juvenile?
I must say that they surprised me! They were all engaged and loved the opportunity to try something new. I also found that it helped to have the intermediates partner up with a younger class. This allowed the older students to act as leaders and help the younger students complete a project or challenge. It also helped all of the students stay on task.
Maker buddies testing out their paper airplanes in the hallway!
The first thing I think about when I think about Lego is the infinite possibilities of what someone can build with just a few pieces. Its always amazing to see the creativity and the thinking behind what a student will build. Often students will build individually to add to a collaboration or a bigger group project. The dialogue that happens between students to get to a finished project is one that is rich and meaningful. Sometimes there are disagreements but ones that the students themselves can manage. The hope would be for them to become independent problem solvers in all aspects of their development. But something I find so fascinating is that students don't even realize that they are doing numeracy while building. It's amazing that a student will know that a Lego brick of 8 will fit in a space or they can use a combination of two bricks of 4 or one brick of 6 and one of 2. But if you give them a similar math problem, they can not comprehend the question being asked. I like using Lego as a Math manipulative because so many students already are familiar with the pieces. It's easy to teach multiplication, showing how arrays work and even fractions and once they make the connection, sometimes math doesn't seem so scary anymore.
What are some 21st century skills and competencies our students can build while building with LEGO?
I believe students that play with LEGO have an engaging opportunity to work develop their literacy, problem solving, curiosity, and perseverance.
Legos are amazing and I speak from my own love affair with them and now my own child's (he's six). Our school would also like to introduce them in our soon to be Maker Space. With regards to 21st century learning competencies, Legos have an endless possibility as some of you have already mentioned.
Legos provide an opportunity for students to engage in critical thinking, especially when provided with an opportunity to be creative with their designs as it pertains to the task at hand. Students also display creativity when creating with Legos. Despite us not having Legos yet, I have a small stash in my office and when students get their hands on them, it's amazing what they design, the details they have in their creations and the enthusiasm in their voices when they share their Lego creations.
Legos also provide an opportunity for communication and collaboration to occur as noted by others above. Students can work with others to create designs that meet potential criteria asked of them and yet still have their creations be unique based on the endless possibilities. And as stated above, the students enjoy communicating what their creations are.
I am looking forward to the opportunities Legos can provide in the classroom/Maker Space.
Article: Blocks: Great Learning Tools from Infancy Through the Primary Grades by Karen WiseLindeman and Elizabeth McKendry Anderson in Young Children (March 2015)
With planning and ongoing assessment, block play provides young children with many opportunities to interact with both science and math content. (numeracy, area, geometry, spatialreasoning) Block play supports learning about simple machines, gravity, force, designing, engineering, the arts using the scientific and other processes. Solving meaningful problems while collaborating with peers and their educator, children communicate through oral and written expression but also with digital technologies. Having multiple ways to express their thinking and ideas in multiple ways. Students discuss and make a plan. Final constructions are displayed or documented for sharing with others. Allows for multiple ways to represent their thinking. Building blocks play can encourage and support critical thinking. creativity, communication and collaboration. Article Link: http://www.naeyc.org/yc/files/yc/file/201503/YC0315_Blocks_Develop_21st_Century_Skills_Lindeman.pdf
Image in article:
I love lego and so do our students. Last year at a parent evening we had a variety of numeracy related activities & technologies for both students/their parents to interact with. For example, a game in which fractions are explored with lego pieces. Other students took newspaper and created a life-size dome in their classroom to understand this 3-D shape and explore buildings that utilize it. Mini-models can be built with straws and connectors from Scholar's Choice. Some educators have explored creating a lego wall, lego tables and used both the on-line lego. (Build with Chrome ) Lego is a tool. How do we encourage students to choose relevant and effective tools-both real & technological that best express their inquiries-communicate their discoveries most effectively to others? What questions will we ask to support the inquiry process? How might students critically analyze a problem-solving context and discover new tools to support their thinking and action? Lego can be used for students to talk about the re-designing of their school gardens, used to create a draft build of elements with other materials, analyzed to see if the elements they deem needed and valuable have been built-re-designing until they are ready to put their plans into action. (made to scale as part of planning process) Connecting lego to real life applications supports students in seeing connections between what they are doing and the big ideas, processes and action (iterative change process-their ideas may impact others both locally and globally) that makes inquiries relevant and purposeful. Have you read the new 21st century competencies draft here?: http://www.edugains.ca/resources21CL/About21stCentury/21CL_21stCenturyCompetencies.pdf
What I love about Lego is how it forces kids to collaborate and be creative. We put a Lego Wall in our Makerspace and it has been the centre point of some terrific conversations and collaborations. I also really like how it's accessible to kids of all ages. At our school's MakerNight 5 year olds all the way up to adults were busy all night creating and making stop motion videos. Really went to show that deep down, we're all just kids at heart.
Yes, we are - we just have to remember to let the "play" out once in awhile.
I also think that Lego can reach and allow students to have hands on practice of all of the 21st century skills. I like a balance between following simple instructions on new kits, and the classic free play of the bricks too. I really like the creativity and role playing that can come with Lego too.
My own kids have numerous sets from Christmases over the years, and we turned a train table into a Lego table. They will build the kits, but they also mix in their creativity too. When they get lost in playing, I usually hear tidbits of our travels come out in their play. Recently, they were playing with a cafe set, and the one Lego character was talking an order, my daughter asked if the customer needed a gluten free pizza added to their order
In my Grade 5 class, I was fortunate to inherit a dragon Lego set. This came in handy several times, both during challenges for problem solving (build the tallest tower that you can with 100 blocks) to indoor recess to writing prompts too.
Lego covers 21st century skills by solving problems while designing projects, collaborating with others to create something innovative and communicating about what has been created and/or how it works.
Lego has been a part of my life for the past 18 years. My middle son who is in Grade 12 this year has always been the kid who is constantly figuring out how things work. When he was just a toddler, he would examine the underside of his "Little Tykes" trucks to see how they worked. He also loved making new cars out of "Duplo". When he was 8 he created a Lego City in the basement playroom - rarely did the kits actually stay in the original set, and the 'city' was constantly changing with the ongoing dramatic play. When he was ten years old, he made stop-motion-animation movies with Lego using his digital camera. Then he got into Lego Technic Mechanics. Now, he is in a OPG Robotics club. He also placed second in the BWDSB Ontario Skills Competition in Small Engine Repair. He is not 'academic' in the same sense of his older brother (who is studying Bio-medical Science at University of Guelph), but definitely smart in an important way!
In the Library, the Lego bin has been popular with kids from K-Grade 6. I sometimes use Lego at the SPARK table - "What Can You Create With 10 Pieces of Lego?". I just received Lego EV3 and We Do at the end of June. I have the kits at home to learn about, but honestly haven't done much other than watch You Tube videos for ideas. Does anyone have suggestions for starting out with Lego Robotics?
I absolutely love LEGO and there are so many possibilities with it. There are many skills students can work on while using lego such as motor skills, visual perceptual skills, and social skills. It is great for building structures of all kinds and can be used in math for patterning and graphing, etc. Lego robotics is a great way to include coding in the classroom. I have used coding websites with students but have found that they enjoy it better with robotics that they can actually see what they have programmed it to do. Last year I didn't have any Lego but found the Build with Chrome website was a great alternative. I had students from K-5 on that website and all loved it. The older ones loved that you could build on a map and all picked a location so they could build near each other. This also connected to mapping skills. I love when I can connect a task to multiple curricular areas.
It's actually hard to narrow it down to just a few competencies. LEGO covers off so many skills! It requires very little instructions and rules! There are multiple entry points for people of all different skill levels. CREATIVITY jumped out to me as a skill, but I could argue almost everything! Should I mention that the LEGO Movie made me cry?
I can't wait for the BATMAN LEGO movie Should I mention we've also been to Legoland in California, Florida and Toronto?
For the past two years, two of my sons participated at a Robotics competition. Between us, I was more excited than them. During the competition I noticed a lot of communication, collaboration, organisation and planning between the members of the teams. Critical thinking and problem solving were used after each round, where students tried to improve their robot by applying real-word math and science concepts. Also, I have noticed a high level of engagement in a very fun environment, and I am sure that the skills that they have learned will last for a lifetime. It was a wonderful experience, which motivated me to order two kits of Lego We Do. My goal is to start a robotics club next September. Also, a mother from the parent council applied for STEM School Tech Grants at Best Buy: BEST BUY SCHOOL TECH GRANTS - Best Buy Canada. So, if the proposal is accepted, my makerspace will hopefully be up and running by January.
Who doesn't love LEGO! We are going to start a lego wall in the learning commons this fall and I'm excited for the students to see this. I was amazed in the spring when I took out sets of lego that came along with books and the students in the SERR classes sat totally engaged, following the step by step instructions for very long periods of time. Amazing and can't believe it took me until spring to do that with them! I think because I didn't think of lego as actual learning, but after that I'm all about LEGO! I like to embed technology and one centre activity I've had out includes baggies of 100 random lego pieces, a planning sheet and an ipad. Students plan what they will make first on the planning sheet, then create and finally take a picture of creation next to planning sheet and add to class book using Book Creator App. Our board also has kits now that come out to us with Robotic Lego. Wow, do they love that!!!! Again, the reading and following instructions is a key and they are unbelievably focused. I think that is a very important skill needed!!
Curiosity and Problem Solving.
Could you create a structure and connect it to a Makey-Makey to rotate? That video is so inspiring that I'm sure the kids would love to try creating a rotating structure/object.
I think playing with LEGO is a good way of challenging students' understanding of reading and writing. LEGO sets come with instruction manuals that must be read, but there are no words. People need to 'write' the instruction manuals. I had a grade 2 student build something simple with LEGO once and write an instruction manual for it. Then he had to have a classmate follow his instructions to see if they could duplicate the item. He quite enjoyed the experience. Students are taught how to draw 3D shapes in school, but showing LEGO manuals is a great way to help them make a connection to where in the world we would use this skill.
I also find that students really enjoy robotics with LEGO. But getting enough motors for this might be challenging. Does anyone have suggestions for acquiring the motors?
I love LEGO! I truly believe that it is one of those hands on tools that fits into just about any area!
Unfortunately, I have limited space for a LEGO wall in my library learning commons. I am going to purchase a LEGO table for students to use.
Also have a LEGO Mindstorm Robot for students to use. We (students and staff) are still trying to figure it out. Lots of potential for students to do some cool stuff!
I loved Lego as a kid, and my own kids love it now, too. I agree with what everyone is saying, that playing with lego supports almost all of the 21st Century Competencies. In observing my own kids play, the three that stand out the most to me are creativity, persistence and adaptability. Lego really draws out a kids creativity. It used to drive me bonkers that my son would ask for a specific new lego set, only to ignore the instructions and build "what he wanted" with the pieces from the box. Now that he follows the instructions to build the actual set, I find myself encouraging him to "be creative", lol. Adaptability is required when a child has a vision of what they want to build, but maybe can't find the exact right piece... they need to adapt their plan and look for something else that they can make work. Persistence is a quality I have observed (or rather have observed to be lacking) when my daughter uses lego. She gets frustrated quickly when she can't get the pieces to fit together and says she's quitting...I encourage her to be patient and to keep working at it, and in the end she is proud of her creation.
Problem solving, critical thinking and communication are three of the 21st Skills and Competencies that first came to mind when considering lego in the classroom. As I typed, I was further impressed upon that the skill of creativity was the key caveat... Lego is limitless in its possibilities and appeal. I will profess that I am not a fan of buying the themed kits, because I do find they can be prohibitive in terms of creativity, due to the desire some students/makers have to replicate the box sample, but these kits can also be a starting point, which I think is important to monitor in terms of student engagement and creativity. As well, the lego people can be the source of many feuds... Or such has been my experience. That said, I love lego... Professionally, and personally it is fantastic to delve into!
Lego is a wonderful to engage kids and maintain interest in their task. Everyone loves to work with hands on materials. I have found that that collaboration and creativity along with solid problem solving is all engaged when working with lego. They want to show and demonstrate their knowledge and willingly learn from others. I used it in my science class last year with my 7's and 8's. It was wonderful. I am working with grade 2 and 3 this year so I will see what they can do with it.
Lego is a fantastic material to cover all of the competency areas. We do Lego challenges in our Maker Space and the different ways students think and the direction they take are all so different from one another which really demonstrates their creativity. I also encourage students to work on Lego challenges in groups of three or four to promote collaboration. I have also taken this to the next level and had students work with build with Chrome to create Lego creations online. It takes the learning one step further when you incorporate technology and the best part of buildwithchrome is its free which is great as Lego isn't cheap. Love, Love, Love Lego!
100% agree! We introduced some of our grade eights today to Build with Chrome and I heard "Can we just build all day?" I have not explored the google maps aspect of Build with Chrome... I can think of many possible directions to go with this!
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