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 No Tech, No Problem ... When You Have LEGOs!

10/23/2019 6:00 AM

​To say that the 2019-2020 school year was off to a bumpy start would be an understatement. However, watching our staff persevere at West View Elementary School has been nothing short of AMAZING! 

Speaking as a teacher less than a decade into her career, the technology outage left me a bit frazzled at times and feeling somewhat clueless. What do you mean I have to hand write my worksheets and lesson plans? Wait, I need YouTube to show my students what a community looks like? HELP! I need my iPads! I refused to let this get me down. Time to seize the day and break out the LEGOs!  

LEGO Education was brought into RPS 205 last school year with various grade-level kits. Teachers across the district dabbled with the kits in their classrooms, shared ideas, and some teachers – myself included – went on to become LEGO Education Teacher Trainers for RPS 205.

Giving a classroom full of students some LEGO kits can get messy and loud. It can be hard to organize the LEGOs and manage them in a class full of excited kiddos. However, LEGOs are FUN and innovative and so ENGAGING! Best of all, LEGOs can help create confident problem solvers for the 21st century world!  

Not having technology gave me the opportunity to give my students the time needed to explore the LEGOs. This investment in "explore" time is an important step with LEGO Education to help set expectations, practice collaboration and teach routines. After our "explore" time, it was time for the real fun: LEGO learning.    

Not having YouTube or other technology-based visuals for my lessons meant we were going to build our visuals! Working through our Integrated Literacy Units, we were able to build many things that tie learning to various content standards. During our "To Be a Leader" unit, we worked to understand the cross-cutting concept of "structure and function" while building a school playground and designing playground rules to make good leaders. Working through our "Community" unit, we built a fire truck focusing on all the structures a firefighter needs to keep us safe. 

Our math unit has been focused on sorting, classifying and counting quantities. Practicing this whole group using my SMART board wasn't really an option, but the LEGOs were perfect for this. Students practiced sorting the LEGOs into groups, classifying their groups using LEGO vocabulary and labeling their groups with the quantity.  

One of my favorite things about LEGOs is how easily it can be connected to writing. Many of my kindergartners come to school not very confident in their ability to draw a picture or put their thoughts onto paper. This makes writing one of the most difficult content areas to teach. By letting students use LEGOS to build a model of their thoughts, and then use the model to draw their thinking really helps my kiddos be more confident artists. That will make for some confident writers.

These past few weeks our fearless LEGO leaders have continued to lean on each other, offer ideas for LEGO lessons during our tech outage and help create a LEGO Education community in RPS 205 that I am proud to be a part of. Watching my students grow and learn, while having fun and engage in such important learning during a time where resources have been so limited makes me excited for the future of LEGO Education in RPS 205.  

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