Back To School, Grades 3-5, 2022 214

Back To School, Grades 3-5, 2022


Welcome Back, Teachers and Creators! We hope you're as excited to see your learners as they are to see you. We're kicking off our Customer Success Program with grade-banded introductions to our Product Resources Library, along with ideas for a successful first use of bricks with your young builders.

Young builders would benefit from free exploration of sets and bricks before wrangling them into the first directed lesson, but undirected play doesn't mean unstructured chaos.

Our Product Resources Library has great ideas to get you started, along with links to full Units and Lesson Plans, and it's worth taking a moment to check out the Getting Started Resources for your classroom sets or other products within the same grade-band--such as, BricQ Motion Essential or SPIKE Essential--for first use ideas and for Element Cards. For example the following first use activity comes from our Computer Science Resources but could be easily modified for any of our LEGO® Education Solutions.

After providing students a set amount of time to explore their sets freely, ask each student to select one brick or element from the set and share with a partner or the entire class what they think that brick or element is used for. Then have students find bricks or elements to match with each function:
  • Allows a design to move (gear, tire, rubber band, motor, tube)
  • Secures a piece in place (bushings, pins)
  • Joins pieces together at an angle (couplers, biscuits)
  • Decorates (minifigs, eyes)
  • Connects pieces (axle rods, pins, bricks)
  • Controlled by software (hub, motor, sensors)
Ask students:
  • Why do you think it is important to know the names of the pieces when working with the set?
  • Why do you think it is important to understand the function of different bricks and elements when designing a solution?
  • What resources in the kit might help with organization of materials?
  • Have students place bricks and elements into the correct location in the trays.
You can also modify this activity to turn it into BINGO--or, as we like to call it, BRICKGO!
  • Have students create a large 5 x 5 grid in their journals.
  • Teacher selects 30 different elements and has each team find the pieces from their sets.
  • Teams randomly place one element in each square of the BRICKGO board.
  • The teacher randomly gives the name and/or description/function of an element from the selected group of pieces.
  • Teams look to see if the piece is on their BRICKGO board. If so, the team removes it.
  • Continue playing until a team has BRICKGO (one row, one column, or one diagonal completely empty on their card)

First-Use activities are also a great time to establish classroom norms for using the LEGO sets.
The best strategies are co-developed with the students so they have ownership and buy-in for how the class uses the bricks. Common challenges, and some ideas to get you started, include

  • Assign each student a specific, labeled set for each use so student groups can help manage their own materials.
  • Encourage students to build atop the set lids to maximize space. The lid ridges also work as bumpers to keep pieces from flying off tables.
  • To get students' attention, a clapping, snapping, or other hands-up call-response works better than a verbal one. It's hard to keep playing with bricks if students' hands are required to show they're listening.
  • Establish a container for found pieces to go as a temporary home.
  • Encourage active participation by having students alternate who is the builder for specific pages of the building instructions.
  • Clean Up! Be sure to set a timer to allow at least 5 minutes to clean up.
  • Assign clean-up roles:
    • Power Checker--if you're using a set with hubs, check the battery charge before dismantling the build.
    • Code Saver--does the program need to be saved? Are students aware of the process?
    • Floor Sweeper--provide a visual check for elements that might have fallen.
    • Quality Checker--make sure the right elements are in the right set/section.

Remember, additional ideas can be found in the Getting Started pages for other products in the Product Resources Library--even if it's not the same product, there are great ideas for defining a purpose, asking questions, or establishing a collaborative classroom.

We also encourage you to add your ideas to the comments below! Share what works for your classroom or build off another's ideas! (If you are unable to comment below, sign up for a free LEGO ID which will give you full access to all Community and Professional Development resources.)

Blog LEGO® Education Tips and Tricks 09/09/2022 11:46am EDT

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Very helpful. However, we take about 15 minutes to clean up! My students have to shut down and put away their Chromebooks in addition to organizing their Lego kits. I also like the idea of classroom jobs and assigning a Floor Sweeper.

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