blog-legos
Inspiration

3 Ways Teachers Are Using Legos to Build 21st Century Learners

Denmark’s popular toy has become the classroom’s educational tool.

What can you do with six eight-stud Lego bricks? Probably more than you think. For starters, you can create over 915 million combinations. More importantly, you can greatly improve a student’s ability to learn science, technology, engineering, math and literacy. Yes, literacy.

According to LEGO, children spend 5 billion hours a year immersed in creative play with a 50 year-old Danish concept derived from the words “leg godt”, meaning “play well.” They’re not only playing well, they’re building, designing, constructing, learning, and tapping into their inner imagination with colorful sets of bricks that haven’t changed over the years.

Perhaps no change was necessary. Research shows that Legos are more popular than ever and aren’t just used for informal play anymore.

Here are some ways teachers are using LEGOS in the classroom:

Building math education

It’s well-known that LEGOS stimulate STEM education by fostering engineering, collaboration and problem-solving skills. They also help teach basic math skills. Think parts and whole, number sense, fractions, and analyzing data, to name a few. One preparatory school in England, however, has become the first school in the world to actually teach five year-olds how to do math using LEGOS as its primary means of instruction. In conjunction with LEGO Education, Birchfield School in Shropshire built a LEGO Innovation Studio capitalizing on “MoreToMath”, a hands-on educational tool from LEGO that teaches problem-solving to First and Second Graders. The need was imminent, according to Headmaster Hugh Myott. “We are very focused on the requirement for key skills for the 21st century,” he said. “Problem-solving, collaborative work, and teamwork are all essential, and through the practical use of LEGO, it engages the students in this area. We have got to prepare young people for living the 21st century.”

Shaping literacy

Legos aren’t just limited to math and science. At Birchfield School and beyond, LEGOS are being used to inspire creativity, communication, and to build literacy. LEGO StoryStarter, intended for grades 2-5, helps to build kids’ imagination by creating their own narratives and retelling stories with sequence scenes. Students collaborate and build stories with bricks, then use LEGO software to photograph, write, and publish their stories. Don’t want to buy the system? Simple LEGO bricks can help teach literacy in the classroom:

  • Spelling – write letters on the sides of bricks to connect and spell words.
  • Matching – match same color bricks to beginning sounds, to rhyming, and to upper/lower case letters.
  • Sentence building – write words on sides of bricks to build sentences and incorporate sight words.
  • Phonemic Awareness – count syllables with bricks.
  • Story starters – give the students the first sentence to a story. Have the students build the story with bricks, then write it.

Engineering science concepts

LEGOS play a foundational role in science in classrooms globally. French Engineer Mac Castéra created “Brickscientist,” a Netherlands-based educational workshop that travels all over the world to teach kids about science and engineering. When he took his workshop to some of the poorest children in India, Castéra asked students in Dehli to craft rockets, satellites, and astronomy with Legos. The results were telling. “They responded really well to the workshops, showing great interest in both the science and culture sessions,” he said. He also introduced programming with the LEGO Education WeDo Set. “The concept of the WeDo user programming interface also caught their attention, and it ended up being very much about self-learning. Soon they could reprogram the purpose-built plane, with me barely having to explain the concept.”

While LEGOS have remained a treasured toy among all ages, its educational benefits are superseding its entertainment value and have become building blocks for the future.

 


Teachers, receive educational products – for free.

We want you to be a part of our team. Receive educational products for free. Use them. Evaluate them. And then donate them to your classroom or school. Signing up takes only a few minutes. When a product matches your profile, we will be in touch. Get involved today!

Products that feature the GEI Seal of Endorsement have been tested by real educators in real classrooms and have been vetted through a series of evaluative rubrics. Our goal is to elevate products and ideas that really work! View our latest endorsed products and learn more about our mission.


Love GEI articles?

Get your daily dose of insight and inspiration by following us on Twitter: @geiendorsed. Have an idea for an article? Feel free to leave a comment below or send us a Tweet. We love community!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Related articles