This is part of a series of posts that talks about a few things that schools could invest in to improve and enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math’s) Education. They each contribute to the bigger picture of making schools challenging, fun, exciting and desirable places to be.
Lets kick off with Lego – quite simply there just isn’t enough Lego in schools and we need more of it to support the teaching of Maths, Science and Technology. Lets not forget that Lego can also be incredibly useful for supporting the teaching of other subjects as well – such as creative writing and other components of literacy.
I was first convinced about the use of Lego in the classroom back in 2010 where I was a judge for the Scottish Education Awards (in the ICT Category) and we awarded 1st Place to Mid Calder Primary School. They were doing loads of great stuff with ICT but I was particularly impressed with how they were using Lego robotics to support learning.
If your just getting started with Lego in schools then the Lego Education Home Page is a great place to start.
Now if you want to invest in Lego there are lots of options available and I have included some of them below.
1) The WeDo Construction Set
The WeDo Construction Set enables students to build and program simple LEGO models that are plugged into a computer. The set contains more than 150 elements, including a motor, motion and tilt sensors, and the LEGO USB Hub. Combine with the Software and Activity Pack to carry out 12 theme-based activities – including my favourite the Hungry Alligator!
2) Lego Mindstorms
Lego Mindstorms has been around for a while but their new EV3 models launch globally in August this year. I was lucky enough to see the preview at BETT 2013 and it really is an impressive bit of kit! What is even better about it is that the folks at Lego have done all the hard work in linking its use to the curriculum in the form of their engineering curriculum package.
LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 Design Engineering Projects is a curriculum package that lets your students work with open-ended problem-solving activities, in a context which makes it fun and engaging to learn using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
It combines science and mathematics concepts with soft skills, such as creative
thinking, problem solving, teamwork and communication skills, boosting 21st
century learning skills. All projects follow a design engineering process as used
by engineers in various industries.
Here is a video of the EV3 in action:
Using Lego in this way help learners gain and use their knowledge of science, technology and mathematics as they engineer a solution. Students can also capture their work as they progress in a built-in digital workbook.
Finally, if you think that Lego is just pretend robotics then you might like to watch this video that is made entirely using Lego Mindstorm…
… and just look at what is possible when you add the fast processing power of an Android Mobile Phone!
I'm keen to hear of any schools who are using lego to directy support aspects of Scotland Curriculum for Excellence (particularly at Level 3 and Level 4).