Saturday, October 22, 2016

Using Lego in education

Last week, we talked about building your Lego collection on the cheap and how to store and organize your collection and instruction booklets.  This week, we will talk about how we've used them in school and awesome websites to follow along with.

(Bethany Hamilton after watching Soul Surfer)

We have loved the added element of using Lego in school.  It has made movies, literature, science, history, reading, math all come to life and relatable to my kids.  Just the other day, my 9 year old made a blue whale based on pictures she had been studying in whale books (we are studying ocean creatures in science this year).  She noticed that with the pictures in this book that there was a person next to it show the size of the creature in comparison to a human.  So, this is what she came up with.  (isn't it awesome)

(blue whale)

When my littlest was learning his letters and numbers we made the alphabet and numbers all out of Lego Duplo together using the ideas found here - numbers and letters (she has upper and lower case).  DK has made some awesome early readers with Lego and we've used them in our reading.  History can come to life with fun recreations.  Here is a castle that my son made after we read about knights and castles.  He even added a damsel in distress.  :)


We have also done experiments using Lego.  After reading about dams, the boys wanted to see if they could use materials we had around the house to make an effective dam.  It took many tries but with the help of Lego and lots of homemade playdough, they did it!  It didn't last forever, but they saw the effects and were happy!

(Lego dam in progress, city on one side, water was placed on the other)

They have even gone so far as to make their own chess set using their own Lego minifigs and our chess board.

(chess with knights and pirate minifigs)

So, as you can see, they are very much a part of our every day life.  Not a day goes by where they are not played with, used for learning, or made into a stopmotion movie.  It has been money never wasted for our family.  

(stopmotion at work)

Not only have we used them for school, two of my children (and one more is learning currently) use them to make stopmotion movies.  My oldest son has an area all to himself for making Lego stopmotion.  My daughter mostly works with dolls, but has dabbled with Lego from time to time.  If you have a child who wants to take his Lego a step further into the world a stopmotion, it, too, can be set up quite cheaply.  Most of his storage is similar to what I showed you last week.  He has them divided by color, minifigure, special parts, etc.  He has a small area to work with so he has a few simple plastic bins with all his parts put into ziploc inside.  Plus, he has a smaller drawer system for his flats, flash lights, backgrounds, etc. (as seen in photo above)

(stopmotion storage area)

We used a card table for his work station and I hung up a black velvet cloth on the back wall for him to shoot his photos.  He also has a small white board for planning and his Lego store calendar hung up.  The whole set up is inexpensive and he has made many great stopmotions here.  

(we found velvet doesn't reflect light as well and makes a great backdrop)

Here is a music video he did recently with his stopmotion:

And, here is a video my two stopmotion kiddoes did recently in honor of the summer olympics.  They built all parts themselves, even the impressive stadium.  

I can't say enough about what all Lego has done for our family.  Books, too, have played a large role in jumpstarting ideas on how we can use them in school or play as well.  Here are some samples pics from some of our favorites from our collection.

I prefer how to books that use mostly what we already own.  These authors and builders are some of the best at showing you how to recreate things using what you already have.  Awesome Lego Creations is my current favorite and was just released a couple of weeks ago.  It was written by a fellow homeschool mommy (she has an awesome blog, too, btw).  The Brick Wonders, City, Vehicles, and History (which we don't have the last yet) are a bit more advanced but we have been able to tweak them and use them regularly in our schooling.  There are other awesome books out there.  A quick look at Amazon will show you that.

If you have a child who is interested in stopmotion, this is a great book for that!  

Another book on Lego stopmotion is about to be released at the end of the month.  You can find the link to that here.  I have read a couple of reviews on this new one and it is said to be superb!  

If you are looking for a great comprehensive guide to Lego learning, this one is absolutely excellent!  It was just released over the summer, and I have many plans to use this throughout our year this year. 

Lastly as far as great books, we absolutely love the "Brick......" collection.  We own 4 of them currently, but there more to the series, Fairy Tales, Greek Myths, and Dracula/Frankenstein.  We've read them all.  But, be warned, they stick to the stories as is.  No Disneyfying (is that a word) taken to the fairy tales, no treading lightly around the real facts of the Bible.  If you don't like that, you won't like these stories.  

I will wrap up this post with some great websites and my pinterest boards to give you lots more ideas. 

Goodness from around the 'net:

This is a comprehensive list of all the best Lego blogs around the 'net.  I couldn't do any better than this list.  I use all these websites constantly.  Proverbial Homemaker also has awesome Lego challenges.  We used her Easter one before and had a wonderful time with it.  I plan to use her Christmas one this year.  

I am also part of two Lego facebook groups that I get ideas all the time from.  One is from Proverbial Homemaker.  The other is from the ladies who made the Lego learning book I mentioned above.  Here are the links for those - Lego Challenge Club and Learning with Lego

Here are the links to my two pinterest boards - Lego and Lego learning.  My Lego board has build builds, how to's, organization, etc.  My Lego learning board is just that, all about using Lego in your learning.  There are also links to lists of great Lego reading and building books as well.   (I also have a Lego Christmas Village board if you are interested.  We set up a village each year and I am always looking for ways to add to it)

Last but not least, I just published a Lego book as well.  It is all about making no sew clothes Lego gear for your minifigs and horses. See the page at the top of my home page for more information and a link for you to purchase it.  Right now it is available on Kindle, but is in the works to be released in paperback just in time for Christmas gift giving.  Here is a link to the Kindle edition and stay tuned for the paperback book annoucement.  

I hope these last two posts have fostered many good ideas in your mind to the world of Lego and Lego learning.  Come back next week when we talk shop about our other love, dolls!  Until then, happy building and learning!

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