Thursday, February 2, 2017

What if learning felt like play?

LEGOS are a toy, so what are we doing pulling them out to use in the classroom? Learning, that's what!

While it is true that LEGO bricks are toys and children expect to play with them, it is the ideal reason why they are part of great learning opportunities as well. When presented with the bricks the students first reaction is excitement.  They know what these little plastic bricks are used for and are excited that they can use them in school. Being taught with LEGOS doesn't feel like the same old way of learning. Our students have recently had the opportunity to use the LEGO bricks in new and fun ways to enhance their learning and understanding of concepts.

The first grade classrooms are learning about fractions for the first time. Using DUPLOs to count the number of pegs on the DUPLO helped them to visually make groups that equaled a half or a quarter. They worked with partners to talk through their thoughts of why they grouped the bricks the way they did. They were then able to stack the bricks together to check their understanding by making sure the bricks were the same length.

The second grade is using LEGOS to explore simple machines. They have been concentrating on reading and writing informational text. They applied their understanding of informational text by using a manual to learn how to build and then launch a catapult. They then used measuring tools to calculate the distance of the objects that they launched using both inches and meters. 

Third grade is beginning their exploration of what area and perimeter mean. They used LEGOS to build the perimeter of a structure before using measuring tools to find the area and the perimeter measurements.  They then discussed ways that that can be done with a non-rectangular shape. They had an opportunity to show ways that they could build and measure a shape that was not a simple square or rectangle. 

Learning through play is one of the most enjoyable ways to learn. Students are engaged, eager and excited about concepts that may seem abstract when presented in a more traditional way. They can't wait for the next lesson that lets them play while they learn!

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