45 Replies Latest reply on 28-Oct-2016 8:19 AM by

    Module 3: Consolidation LEGO


      Take a picture or screenshot of one of the projects you created and post it to the discussion. What did you like about this experience? How would you modify or use this experience for learners in the classroom? How can it be used to stimulate and engage learners across the curriculum?



      click here to return to main course page

        • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

          I didn't build a project, I am supposed to be part of a LEGO building challenge with my 14 year old son - creating a unique structure of some kind but haven't invested the time yet and he has been off busy with other things. We were able to score a good quantity of lego for the learning commons, donations along with board money. We created a Lego wall in our learning commons (which has its own design challenges for students due to the building out instead of up), and I saw designs for a lego desk on wheels ( two plastic three tier drawers for the pieces, with plywood across the top and on the playwood is lego building platforms to snap pieces on. )


          When I was working  with the 1/2s in January to build something that does something with simple machines OR uses energy of some kind their struggle with the LEGO was that they just wanted to build, they didn't want to think about what they were building,or  imagine a design, they just wanted to create and they didn't want to create within the two perimeters...


          It was a bit surprising to me as these are the two classes closest to inquiry(kindergarten) and there were two extremes in the group: students who just wanted to do whatever with the LEGO, and students that just wanted to be told exactly what to do with the LEGO. As a group we had reviewed all of the resources, brainstormed some potential options, yet the two extremes were still present.


          The students loved coming to the "makerspace" and as I saw them at recess and such they would ask me when it was their turn to come back...

            • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

              Thanks for sharing these observations, Mariette!  I wonder if part of what you experienced was that many kids bring a certain background with LEGO to any experience they may have at school; namely, if they have played with it before they likely have a LOT of experience with "free play", and revert to this mindset at school even when given instructions, or a specific challenge.  Those with little LEGO experience will naturally need a little time for free play to get familiarized with it, and may really want you to "hold their hands", either because of their unfamiliarity with the material or, perhaps more likely, because they feel insecure since others so clearly have much more familiarity and are exploring with much greater confidence.  And there are probably even kids who have only ever built LEGO in KITS, copying everything in the diagram to a tee while bringing little actual imagination or creativity to the process. 

              I played with LEGO in my childhood (when it was new!) but since then have mainly observed it used only in free play, in K or my grade 1 last year, never as part of a structured program in the LLC.  I would love to hear from others about what exactly their "LEGO WALL (or table)" program looks like, and how it is working out. 


              I'm also curious to hear from anyone who may have explored alternatives to the "wall".  I have limited table space and am considering options like a plywood LEGO top that can be put over a library tables, or a collapsing or mobile version of a LEGO table which might be placed in the wide hallway outside the library.  Do you have any other ideas? 

                • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                  At the beginning of the year last year, I had one day at lunch in the learning commons dedicated to LEGO. I would have a challenge for students to compete each week. But as I thought about it, I was really limiting their creativity and not really letting them build what they wanted to. From then on, it was open building. This was one of the most amazing things that came out of it..and something we wouldn't have seen with the challenges. But then again, we had space in the learning commons office to store their creations.

                  Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 9.54.48 PM.png

                  We don't have a LEGO wall - partly because we don't have room. We just purchased a bunch of plates - the plates are located in a bin - kids just pull out a plate (or 2) to start building. At the end of lunch we store their creations in the learning commons office. Some of them are pretty complex - I don't know that I'd want them in the open, but I think I should have a space for open creation as well. I wonder if we could create  "LEGO" bar .... like a laptop bar... but for LEGO?

                  • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO


                    I was in Philadelphia last year and went to the Franklin Institute ( their version of the Ontario Science Centre ) and saw the most amazing art show.   An artist had repainted classics like "Mona Lisa" and "The Scream" using Lego blocks.   I forget the name of the artist but I am sure that you could google it.

                    Steve M

                  • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                    It's interesting how the kids feel into two groups. I personally like to do what I want and it is one of the reasons that the current kits drive me nuts! I had my mother in law dig out my husbands old LEGO for our boys.

                  • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                    I haven't done the consolidation project yet, but I wanted to mention my personal experience buying Lego for my library on Kijiji. Just watch out for people who seem to be professional Lego sellers. They seem to like to sell small bags of Lego for $20 - $30. When you compare it to a Lego set it's cheaper, but it's better to wait for the people selling a bunch of Lego with other groups of toys. My first purchase was a bag of basic pieces for $30. But 3 days later I came across someone selling two wrapping paper boxes full of Lego for $75. My kids have been sorting/playing with those boxes for over a week!  I probably got lucky, but  it pays to be patience!  


                    I'm hoping some parents will donate this year as well!

                    • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO


                      So as you can see I don't follow instructions very well.  First of all these are Mega Blocks and not Duplo, second I didn't have 6 different colours, and lastly I didn't have enough 2x4 pieces so I improvised and used a few 2x2 piece to make the piece I needed. 


                      I liked this experience for students because it was very open ended. They would only be restricted to using 6 pieces of Lego but could create anything they wanted. I'm sure some would want to use more and would complain but this could be set up as a challenge.  "What could you create with only 6 pieces of Lego?"  I could also see using it as a springboard to a story writing piece or a descriptive writing piece for literacy. 

                      • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                        Lego Catipillar.tiff


                        Okay, This was totally inspirational on so many levels. As a teacher of a small group of hands on learners, I am so stoked about this building program through Chrome. As an adult I really had to think about how I would create my little caterpillar here. I was inspired by the caterpillars I found with my son today as we hope to see them morph into butterflies. I could not figure out how to get the antennas to go out in an angle but I think that would be a great challenge to give to students. "How can you help me with my creation?"

                        I am completely jazzed about this 6 Brick Lego Challenge. Question, is there a resource for this? The on video advertised a Back to Basics book but I couldn't find it online if I wanted to purchase it. I love the idea of providing kids with a hands on challenge each day or a few times a week as a minds on/warm up to the day. The ideas Mel shared were totally fantastic.

                        I will be teaching a group of grade 4-8 students so I think I can vary these challenges in a number of ways. Perhaps provide different entry points for many or working on group challenges where everyone can build on one another's ideas. I think you could vary many challenges by having perimeters on shapes used, colours, etc.

                        I honestly cannot wait to get started. Let the hunt for Duplo begin!!!

                        If anyone has a resource for daily 6 Brick Challenges, I would LOVE to hear about it. Thanks! Mel, you are amazing to me. I wish all PD was like this


                        ps. I JUST found this: http://www.educationinnovations.org/sites/default/files/SixBricks_OK_print.pdf

                        as a resource, anyone know of anything else?

                        • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                          On Build with Chrome I just built a quick Flash Logo. I find the program to be pretty cool and a great alternative to having physical bricks in some situations.

                          Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 10.49.26 PM.png

                          I think LEGO/this web application could be used to teach structures from the Science curriculum. In addition, it could be used to develop students' procedural writing skills. For example, after they've built something they could write out instructions on how to create the exact same structure. LEGO is appropriate for all grades, the teacher just needs to be creative/informed in order to use it appropriately for the given grade. For example, in a higher grade science class, the teacher and students can investigate LEGO and its previous relationship with Shell.

                          • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                            Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 5.05.51 PM.png

                            I gave my own kids 6 bricks, and we watched the 6 bricks video together.  I then asked them to build 6 different structures, take pics and decide how to send them to me.  They both have PicCollage on their iPods.  The far left is my my 7 year old's creations, the middle is my 9 year old's creations, and the last is my pics, organized on PicCollage by my 9 year old

                            I can definitely see this challenge being used in a classroom, especially to meet many different math expectations.  For example, create a structure, and describe it to your partner so that they have the same structure. 

                            What I loved about this experience is the excitement of the possibilities.  None of the above pictures are the same, and there are so many more ideas out there.  I can see starting off a class with a minds on of describing a structure, or build a structure but you need to have this piece in common.  I might wonder if a set of these bricks in a desk might help with those who benefit from fiddling during a lesson, like a stress ball. 

                            Off to try more!

                            • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO


                              Build With Chrome creation by my 15 year old son. For me, it was kind of difficult to do something like this using mouse and key board. I would go for real lego pieces. Anyways, as I said before, working with Lego helps our students develop patience, imagination and keeps them engaged. This activity can be used for the math strands like patterning, geometry, measurement. In science it can be structures, forces (Strength and Stability). In language it combines reading (instruction), writing (Procedural or recount) and oral communication (presenting or explaining their ideas or imagination). It opens up many opportunities for trans-disciplinary approach in teaching and learning.

                              • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 10.43.15 AM.png

                                I didn't have any LEGO so I used Build with Chrome. I love this website! I found it difficult to make something creative using only 6 pieces of the 2x4 bricks. Everything I thought of used either more bricks or different sizes. I decided on making an Inukshuk even though it uses different size rocks.

                                I liked this activity because I know kids love LEGO and can think of so many ways to use them in the classroom. Since LEGO can be expensive, Build with Chrome is a great alternative as long as you have enough computers to go around.

                                • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                  Curriculum Connections:  models, use to create a text (narrative, procedure, ..) and scenery by adding sound effects and background images to set the scene, animated stories, science: structures-strength/stability, work with simple machines, gears, levers, pulleys, create a model as part of an inquiry (school garden, mapping classroom-school, rural and urban comparison, create a promotional video-production planning and design, camera work, audio use, editing, storytelling, teamwork, time management and problem solving... So many connections to science, literacy, problem solving, learning skills, processes.  All connect to what they do, represent or communicate using lego or other building materials.


                                  Adaptations for Learner Profiles:  Use lego as a choice of one tool.  Lego We Do-supports helping students to start to programme.  Others might include nanoblocks (used for 3-D puzzles), Duplo (bigger and easier to manipulate), K'Nex (simple rods, connectors and wheels)-bridges, roller coasters..., Meccano and Meccanoid (robot),zoob (parts can move),  Polydrons and Minecraft.  Is your purpose to build to scale, build with movable parts, build by coding, build.  You might want to check out Berg Moov if your students want to build toys they can ride on.  Cubelets to build a robot that moves.  So many options.  Lego is a great starting point but there are so many more options.  


                                  Reflection:  I enjoyed using the chrome lego to plan my building.   I do think others might prefer to build, re-create using the real pieces. I really appreciated how students were given time to explore the six lego pieces and then collaborated to extend the activity.  So many of our learning skills (collaboration, responsibility for caring for and self-regulating...) came to mind. building with lego chrome 1.PNG  I started to think about the many options in lego and beyond.  A range of prices-affordability.  I can see how shared materials that are accessible and shared by many would fund greater supplies and more variety.  I wonder how schools are currently sharing, accessing lego and building materials.  Please share.

                                  • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                    This was the first time that I have heard of LEGO Chrome. The students at my Centre LOVE Minecraft! I am curious what success people have had with LEGO Chrome and if they have used it and Minecraft and what students thought of it in comparison to Minecraft?


                                    • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO


                                      I find students fight over Lego because they want the most pieces.  The idea of only having 6 pieces presents challenges for them and hopefully reduces the arguments.  I make the connection between this and writing.  Sometimes I have students who need a paragraph to "find" the answer to a question.  The successful ones should be able to give me a one or two sentence concise answer.  Thanks for introducing me to Lego Chrome.  I'm going to use it with all the classes.

                                      • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                        I really enjoyed playing with the Build with Chrome and I can see it being utilized by our students in cross curricular activities (plus it's FREE!)  Thank you for introducing it to me as I had never heard of it before.  Just as others have stated it could be utilized in literacy, numeracy, social studies, etc. the possibilities are endless. 


                                        I really enjoyed the challenge of making something with only six bricks.  I can see some of the six brick activities being useful with our grade 4 - 8 students.  Today I created a plane and then asked my son to create something with six bricks (he created a tree).  It allowed us to share our creations, ideas, and discuss how we came up with the designs and even why we picked them.   I can't wait to do a similar activity with a group of students.   



                                        • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                          Such great ideas with the six bricks! Thanks to all! I think the four student activity is my favourite. I also love the Build with Chrome and will be using that for sure! I tried six bricks on Build with Chrome. It's me, standing on a block with my arms spread out and shouting, "YAY for Lego"!

                                          Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 8.58.31 PM.png

                                          • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                            Here is my 6-brick combination! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this activity.... and any concerns I had about my grade 5s finding using "only" 6 bricks boring were completely dispelled by watching Mel's video (the 4-player challenge game is awesome), and also by watching the youtube clip about the number of ways you can combine 6 bricks (there are over 9 million ways!).  Will definitely be using "6-bricks" (and lego, generally) this year!!

                                            • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                              I made a Lego airplane!  It is interesting to explore how many different combinations can be created with just 6 pieces of Lego. 


                                              I tried this activity in the Maker Space last year.  It was great to see students from JK to Grade 6 get involved in the 'what can you build with just 5 Lego bricks?' challenge.  I found that the girls and boys were equally engaged in the 'challenge' - nice to see because often the Lego is dominated by the boys. I took a picture of each student's creation and made a visual display so that they could see all of the possibilities which we came up with!

                                              • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                                For this module, I found myself curious as to the direction the information would take us on... I LOVE the six blocks idea, and think each student having their six blocks could be a great 'brain break' task. I could play, prepare and compare for extended periods of time, so I can only imagine how much students would love the tasks in the Melanie's video. Thank you for the information on the 6 Blocks PDF.


                                                As for Chrome Build, I am an Apple user and use Safari as my web browser, and I was informed that I did not have the requirements when I tried to access the site through Safari. That said, I was easily able to use the Chrome App on my computer to build some semblance of a house... Which I enjoyed, but found I had to be attentive to direction and spatial concepts. I can see how it exercised my problem solving, critical thinking, and spatial awareness brain zones! Based on this experience, if I were to use Chrome Build at school (which I intend to), we are now a primarily iPad school. I would have to ensure the Chrome App were installed on all the iPads and double check that the web version works... Just a point of consideration...

                                                • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO


                                                  I haven't posted my LEGO creation because a) it wasn't anything special and b) for some reason I couldn't get it to upload through my shared cottage-country library server.  No loss.   I'm very interested in LEGO, not least because LEGO Walls seem to be all the rage among Teacher-Librarians like me.  I don't have a wall to spare, but loved the idea of using a mobile room divider (on wheels) like I saw on one post.  Small footprint, and totally movable.  It might even be set up in the hall outside my library.  I liked that the digital version can be used to complement and provide an alternative to the using hands with the real thing, but I'm with those who prefer the actual LEGO.  Thanks for all the additional information and resources you provided, Melanie!

                                                  John Baumann 

                                                  • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                                    I love the Lego Chrome!  We have been purchasing Chromebooks at our school, so this will be awesome! 

                                                    As far as a lego wall is concerned, how about using the painting easels?  Or the tv carts that are tall and on wheels?

                                                    • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                                      I love Build with Chrome!


                                                      This is was my very quick design with six blocks. The letter L for LEGO! image.jpeg


                                                      I was was a part of a Minecraft Inquiry Project in my school board last year. Unfortunately, due to on-going issues with loading the software, I had to abandon ship so to speak.


                                                      I would love to try this program with students and use it like Minecraft. Students could design communities as part of the social studies curriculum.


                                                      I also like the idea of the six block challenge. Will definitely incorporate and try it next year in Makerspace.


                                                      Thaks for sharing this great tool!



                                                      • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                                        Here is an example of our weekly Lego Challenge. They had to build an alien that would protect society with 50 Lego pieces or less. Its really competitive and fun at the same time. I usually have other teachers judge for the best Lego creation of the week.

                                                        lego 1.pnglego 2.pnglego 3.png

                                                        • Re: Module 3: Consolidation LEGO

                                                          I've been doing building with Lego through lunch-time programs at schools across the GTA for 3 years now (also a certified teacher), and I've been perusing the comments here, with a few thoughts:


                                                          -- making a Lego activity too loose or too structured can create a loss of interest in what you're aiming to do, and will encourage free play. A better approach can be to use the free play component to structure your activity--and then reverse engineer it! The activity of "just use 6 bricks--what can you build?" is a brilliant example; the simplicity unlocks the creativity!

                                                          -- I know that *every* kid is highly capable of producing something awesome out of Lego in a very short time span...my program is over lunch so always has a maximum of 30-40 minutes (and we try to throw a wrap-up talk in there so kids can talk about what they built). What we do is pretty specific and not my intellectual property so I can't get into super detail on it, but I will say that kids build quicker and better when there are open-ended options vs specific instructions. The latter can work so long as the specific instructions have a creative outcome that the kids can see from the start. If they only see the steps and don't see the final result, that can hinder the interest factor.

                                                          -- I've also learned myself over time from the kids: man, so many of them are amazing builders! As a result, my own speed and aptitude at building has increased, and that makes me a better leader as a result.