This year, I was fortunate enough to attend the National Council of Social Studies conference in St. Louis. The theme was appropriately dubbed “The Gate Way” to the west. It should have been dubbed the “Gateway to Student Engagement”. There were many great sessions that focused on game-based learning like Minecraftedu, historia, and my own session on Gamification. As with all great big conferences, you can’t see every session. Indeed, I missed a great one by Quinn Rollins, @jedikermit. My colleague, @chucktaft, was able to attend and only had great things to say. His session on superheroes and Legos in the classroom sounded amazing. Luckily, I was able to connected with Quinn at a #sschat meetup and discovered all he had to offer. Learning from Quinn and Chuck about the use of Legos in the classroom has led to the development of this, and many more, lessons that use Legos.
Most of these are not required. I just wanted to share what I used, in case you wanted the same materials.
- 1 per group – Bricks and More Builders of tomorrow Lego sets – Link: Amazon.
- 1 per two groups – Lego Education Base Plate sets – Link: Amazon.
- Several Mini-Figures – (I bought a large lot on Ebay)
- 1 Camera – to document how awesome your students are!
As background information before launching this lesson, students had read: Section 1: Greek geography, Section 2: Greek Government, and Section 3: Greek Mythology in their textbooks. The class was divided into four teams, each with five students. Every team picked roles/duties for each member of it’s group.
See my blog post about creating effective group roles.
In teams, students had to construct two scenes from two different sections of the Greek chapter. They could choose the scenes and the sections they used. They were then required to take photos,
write up information about their scenes, and provide details from the textbook or other sources. The final product was very open ended. Students needed to create one product that would display the images and then give the researched information to me. For example, students produced PowerPoints, keynotes, Pages documents, word docs, google docs, iMovies, screencast. They needed to finish within the hour. Most groups were able to do this, with only a few needing to email the final project that evening. The pressure to get the project completed in the hour helped bring their group roles to life.
Students clearly and creatively demonstrated content knowledge in multiple ways while working in authentic, collaborative teams. All this was done with a smile on the students’ faces and active engagement. This kind of lesson is CCSS gold…solid gold! I will definitely be using these Legos with the students again, to push their creativity. While this is not a cheap resource for the classroom, it is one, I know, will stand the test of time. It’s a fact, Legos are indestructible. Think about picking up a set or two for your classroom; lessons with Legos are magical for the students. Once again, I would like to thank @jedikermit for reintroducing me to Legos. Give him a follow!
Images & Final Products
Lego Project Video
Lego Project PDF example 1
Lego Project PDF example 2