3 Ways Placemat Instructions Support Teachers 173

3 Ways Placemat Instructions Support Teachers

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Teachers share how placement instructions benefit classroom practice.

In addition to the benefits for students, we’ve also found teachers often comment on how placemat instruction has benefited their classroom practice. I conducted several case study explorations and interviewed educators who were using placemat instructions with their students. The results of this research revealed three ways that placemat instructions can support educators:
  1. Reduce teacher talking/introduction needed in the beginning of class in favor of student-led learning. A university robotics professor shared: “We (teachers) always over explain it. Because you don’t always get that good feedback from the students like, ”OK, does everyone get it?” Yeah, let me explain it again, you know because I am getting some blank faces. No, they’re blank because they’re bored because they understand it and want to move on and they want to play with the LEGOⓇ [sets]. So [the placemat instruction] allows them to then go back because they don’t have to absorb the whole thing at the beginning, they can start engaging and then reference back to it without having to interrupt the flow of the rest of the class.”
  2. Facilitate delivery of differentiated instruction for students who are at various skill/comfort levels with engineering. A middle school science teacher shared: “My kids had not done a lot of building ... the placemats were actually...really helpful because I felt like I had ...some kids who were just still struggling with the real basics. And then I had other kids who had a sense of gears...and the placemat helped all those different kids come at it at different levels. I think also, it...gave them some privacy. So, it meant that the kids who were building the gear train, the other kids didn’t even necessarily realize it...they could feel fine with struggling with whatever simpler thing they were struggling with...if it’s a placemat where it’s got all these different things on it and people are picking and choosing there’s not that stigma. I really like that about the placemats.”
  3. Lower the stress of managing multiple small groups by spacing out student questions. A STEM Outreach Educator from NH shared: “It covers all the little stuff that students forget and everyone needs to ask about. Instead of having to show everyone all at once while also trying to juggle whatever else is going on they just look at the placemat, or I can point them to it. The placemat does that work for me, which is nice.”
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Have you tried placemat instructions yet?

What has your experience been? Reply in the comments below to share your successes, challenges faced, and/or lessons learned.


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Blog LEGO® Education Educator Tips and Tricks 11/10/2021 9:41am EST

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