Do you want your children to grow up loving science, technology, engineering or math (STEM)?
Want to give them the best chance to excel at school?
Learn how to teach with Lego and empower your children to build their own understanding in life.
The Science Behind How To Teach With Lego
This week English Teacher Online presents the science behind teaching with Lego. We begin with preschool, using different colours and shapes to build Lego vocabulary. We explain how simple 3 brick constructions can help your child develop STEM skills from a very early age. Finally, we explore some of the fun sets that are out there to keep young engineers happy for hours.
WARNING! How To Teach With Lego
With close supervision, many two-year old children can learn with Lego. Use the larger bricks to teach your child how to play safely. Keep the smaller pieces of Lego well away from children’s ears and mouth!
Listening and Building Vocabulary With Lego
Before you do anything technical with Lego, you will need to teach some vocabulary. Children learn listening skills first so mention the colours and shapes while your child is feeling and playing with the Lego. Build a tall multi-coloured tower together and laugh as it all falls down – or not! Most early learning is about developing motor skills through play.
Teaching Colours With Lego
Within the play you can introduce some fun educational songs like the rainbow song. Place these 7 coloured bricks in front of your child.
Red, yellow, pink, green, purple, orange and blue.
Pick each brick up as you say the word – your child will learn to associate the colour with its word. Place the brick down before picking up the next coloured brick and saying that word too. If you can’t move your hands fast enough to pick up the bricks, then just try pointing as you sing the song slowly.
The Rainbow Song
Red and yellow, pink and green,
Purple and orange and blue,
I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow,
Sing a rainbow too?
Singing the song a few times every day, in short 5 to 10 minute lessons, will help your child associate colours with words in a fun way.
Check For Comprehension
Ask a question like, “Can you point to the yellow brick?”
Say, “Well done” and “Good job” (clap and smile) when they pick the correct object (the yellow brick).
Say, “Try again” (shake your head) when they point to the wrong brick.
Remember that no speech is expected while the child is working on listening skills. We are building vocabulary in preparation for speech. If you want your child to become fluent in English, let speaking come naturally.
Teaching Shapes With Lego
As you progress, introduce the shapes in pairs so your child can make
comparisons. Good starting pairs are, big and small, long and short, square and rectangle.
Don’t be too serious or expect your child to become a genius overnight. Be prepared for things to take time. Try to keep it light hearted and fun.
Through natural play your child should collect all the necessary vocabulary to develop their STEM skills.
Doctors Confirm How To Teach With Lego
Dr. Gwen Dewar says that we can use Lego in structured block play. Children try to build a shape by following a model or blueprint.
The child analyzes what they see, understands the parts that make up the whole and questions how the parts relate to each other. Really successful children are able to think quantitatively and are able to rotate geometric shapes in their mind. (Casey and Bobb 2003).
Give your child 3 Lego bricks and ask them to reproduce this design:
It not as simple as it looks. Dr.Dewar explains what the child must do to succeed. If an error is made in any of the steps below then the final result will not match.
First, the child needs to correctly choose three types of brick, one with 4 pips, one with 8 pips, and a third with 12 pips.
Next, they must attach the shortest brick so it sits perfectly aligned to one edge of the longest brick.
Finally, the successful child attaches the medium-sized brick to the other end of the longest brick. They must recognize that it hangs out over the edge so that two pips of the medium-sized brick are not resting on another object.
Only 40% of three year old children are expected to match the design perfectly. For more complex patterns, the completion rate goes under 10%.
Conclusions also indicate that performance isn’t just a question of age. It also depends on experience. Adult scientists and engineers frequently say that construction toys inspired their careers.
My own cousin told me that Lego was his introduction into a world of
communicating ideas with physical objects. Putting things together and taking them apart got him interested in how things work and he always knew he would be an engineer.
Teaching Fractions With Lego
Using Lego makes math fun for learners who need to model math and picture it.
Blocks are great for teaching fractions because the blocks are easily recognizable as a whole. You can use different coloured bricks to represent different parts of the fractions.
Make a tower using 10 red bricks and explain that 10 ÷ 10 = 1 whole one. Now make another 10 brick tower with 10 different coloured bricks and explain that each brick is equal to one tenth of the whole one tower.
Ask your child to construct similar towers using coloured bricks to represent fractions like 4/5 or 3/7. Lego is an amazing tool to teach math.
Why And How To Teach With Lego Conclusions
1. Lego boosts children’s motor development.
2. Allows kids to think in three dimensions.
3. Provides tools that develop lateral thinking in a fun environment.
4. Encourages creativity.
5. Develops problem-solving, organization, and planning by construction.
6. Enhances communication and critical thinking.
7. Improves literacy as kids work with instructions.
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