This post is sponsored by LEGO® Education
I like to tell my 8thgraders that the world of work will look far different than it does today. As a middle school teacher and parent of teens, I want my students and own two children to develop transferable skills that can be applied to any situation. But in order to do this, we need to reimagine how we help kids build cognitive, emotional, physical, social and creative skills that will help them rebuild the world.
Middle schoolers are at a critical age where a lack of confidence can hinder learning. I’ve felt the nervousness in the room when introducing a new coding language at the beginning of a unit. I’ve felt the apprehension of my 8th graders as we started a new school year virtually. I remember the uncertainty my own two kids felt when they were this age.
Without the face to face interaction that comes from in-person learning, many students haven’t been inspired to learn. Others have been so afraid of failing, they’ve been reluctant to try.
The fear of failure is not something kids are born with. Before middle school, kids naturally act like scientists. If something breaks, they fix it. They don’t think twice about experimenting and making adjustments. They relish in doing things differently and finding new solutions to problems but at some point, this gets lost and nervousness and a lack of confidence takes over.
As teachers and parents, we need to nurture self-confidence, perseverance, and creativity. This can be more challenging when learning virtually but can be preserved by providing meaningful hands-on experiences that challenge kids in fun ways and make them want to experiment.
Introducing LEGO® Education Rebuild The World
Fortunately, LEGO® Education understands the importance of protecting our kids’ willingness to try and try again. Their Rebuild The World campaign aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through hands-on STEAM experiences.
STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. These skills can be developed at any age through lessons that spark creativity in kids of all ages, learning levels, and abilities.
LEGO® Education building sets foster age appropriate purposeful play to energize a new generation of learners and builders. Block based coding projects are combined with step-by-step LEGO Education building projects to inspire today’s kids. Through the use of computer programming and hands-on building projects with LEGO bricks, kids use knowledge of STEAM, collaboration, and problem-solving skills to come up with creative ways to tackle lessons.
This gives a new generation the chance to develop problem solving skills for learning challenges they face now and build skills for the future. Early learners, elementary ages, and middle schoolers engage through play in order to develop the cognitive, emotional, physical, social and creative skills they need to rebuild the world.
Hands-On Learning to Rebuild The World
When school closed in March, students in another class were in the middle of using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 Core Set to learn robotics. I’d often come into the computer lab and see small groups of students scattered around the room. The room vibrated with productive conversation as kids dug through their box of LEGO bricks trying to make their robot work the way they wanted and rejoicing when it did.
I loved watching students succeed through creativity, collaboration, and hands-on learning. These experiences ignite curiosity, stimulate communication, and sharpen their scientific inquiry in ways other learning experiences do not. They also foster engineering design and data analysis skills which are critical for today’s digital citizens and future leaders.
LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime Set
Whether it’s in the classroom, virtual, or blended, as students transition back into academic learning, it’s critical to support their social emotional needs. The LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime Set provides another STEAM learning tool for students in grades 6-8. SPIKE Prime builds critical thinking and 21st-century skills like coding and robotics that are vital for future success.
SPIKE Prime combines colorful LEGO building elements that kids are used to with easy-to-use hardware, and an intuitive drag-and-drop coding language based on Scratch. 528 LEGO building elements, including a hub, motors, and sensor are intuitively designed and give kids lots of attachment points to be successful.
If you’re familiar with other LEGO Education learning solutions, SPIKE Prime includes many new innovative elements for middle school age kids to build with including:
- Base frame to allow kids to start building right away
- Redesigned wheels that provide less friction and more accurate performance
- Wire clips to keep track of wires
- 2×4 brick with a cross axle hole
- 3×3 frame “Biscuits” that make it easier to change build direction
- Replacement bag in case elements get lost
With classic LEGO elements and so many new ones, LEGO Education’s SPIKE Prime engages students through playful learning activities to think critically and solve complex problems, regardless of their learning level. With SPIKE Prime Hub, motors, and sensors, kids can create a variety of smart inventions while applying and analyzing real world data.
Easy-entry projects give kids the opportunity to experiment and then build on their knowledge with limitless creative design possibilities, including the option to explore text-based coding with Python.
SPIKE Prime helps students develop the abstract and critical thinking skills they need to solve complex problems but relate to students’ real-life questions and observations, building their confidence and preparing them for life beyond school.
Standards-aligned lesson plans provide a variety of learning experiences. All lessons are easily adaptable to any learning environment, making it fast and simple students to start learning.
LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime helps students learn the essential STEAM and 21st century skills needed to become the innovative minds of tomorrow while having fun and building confidence at a critical age.
For more information about LEGO Education’s Rebuild The World, visit their websiteand learn how you can bring SPIKE Prime to your classroom or integrate into your homeschool lessons. LEGO Education also provides hygiene guidelines, tips for hands-on learning in the era of physical distancing with support for blended learning.
LEGO® Education compensated me for writing this post and provided a LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime set but all opinions are my own.