Saturday, October 12, 2019

Rebuild The World With @Lego_Education

I recently returned from a trip to Billund, Denmark. To many, a trip to Denmark is one of a lifetime. For me it was especially so as Billund is the home of LEGO. From the time I was a kid I have been surrounded by legos. I could spend hours upon hours building my own utopian town, a scene from the old west, a spaceship or something else entirely. Even in my adult life I am still surrounded by these magical bricks. Both my daughters have every LEGO Friends set imaginable and I enjoy building the Star Wars sets and LEGO Architecture sets.

During my time visiting LEGO House (their new headquarters/museum/shire to all things LEGO, the LEGO Idea House and a LEGO Factory I learned things I didn't know about the company.

Here are 5 things you might not know:
  1. LEGO started out as a wooden toy company in 1934. The founder, Ole Kirk, was a master carpenter turned toy maker who made all sorts of traditional wooden toys. 
  2. LEGO is derived from the Danish phrase "leg got" which means "Play Well." But did you also know that Lego also happens to mean "I put together" in Latin but it wasn't until years later that was realized. 
  3. The first LEGO bricks were made in 1949. Originally called "Automatic Binding Bricks" they were hollow inside which made it difficult to make more that just a few structures. It wasn't until 1958 that the bricks were redesigned and that same design is still used today creating an endless number of ways they can be used. In fact 6 bricks of 2x4 studs can be combined in 915,103,765 ways!
  4. The molds used to make LEGO bricks are a closely guarded secret. So much so that old molds are melted down and used in the foundation of new buildings. 
  5. LEGO Education has an incredible progression of STEAM inspired sets for ages 3-4 all the way through High School!
And it's that last fact I personally find amazing. As a former Middle School Science teacher I was familiar with Mindstorms. And back in 2018 I was able to attend the First LEGO League World Championships where I could see creativity with LEGO first hand and how kids from around the world used them to solve authentic problems.

However, it wasn't until I went to Billund to see first hand all that LEGO Education has to offer that I realized it's much more than robots and bricks. There is so much potential for our youngest learners all the way to our oldest to truly Rebuild The World with LEGO.

Here are the four sets and where you can learn more about them.

 LEGO Early Learning
-Core Set- 234 LEGO DUPLO BRICKS (including Push & Go train with lights and sounds, motor, colour sensor, 5 colour-coded action bricks, 2 railroad switches, 3.8 meters of toy train track including crossings, stops and 5 traffic signs, Coding Express App
-Unit Plans- Early Coding (sequencing, looping, and conditional statements), STEAM
As children learn primarily through play at this age, teachers facilitate learning by creating fun and engaging experiences that awaken and open kids imaginations. The unique LEGO Education Early Learning solutions are built for this. Using LEGO DUPLO bricks and rich teaching resources developed based on national guidelines and standards, these solutions help preschool teachers to cultivate a strong foundation for their kids within key learning areas: early math and science, early language and literacy, and social and emotional learning.

LEGO WeDo 2.0
-Core Set-280 LEGO elements, WeDo 2.0 Smarthub, WeDo 2.0 Motor, WeDo 2.0 Motion and Tilt Sensor
-Unit Plans-Science and Engineering, Computational Thinking, Maker
LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 combines the intuitive LEGO brick system, classroom-friendly software, block-based coding, and standards-aligned lessons that you can easily integrate into your existing curricula. Designed with collaboration in mind, each core set supports two students, introducing them to science, computational thinking, and engineering principles in a fun and engaging way. Teachers are set up for success from the beginning with training, getting-started activities, a teacher guide, and easy-to-follow lessons. Evaluation is made easy with a documentation tool and an assessment rubric offered within the software

-Core Set-SPIKE Prime Set, LEGO Education SPIKE Prime App
-Unit Plans-Invention Squad, Kickstart a Business, Life Hacks, Competition Ready
The newest part of the LEGO Education Series (available in early 2020), LEGO Education SPIKE Prime is the go-to STEAM learning tool for grades 6-8 students. Combining colorful LEGO building elements, easy-to-use hardware and intuitive drag-and-drop coding language based on Scratch, SPIKE Prime continuously engages students through playful learning to think critically and solve complex problems, regardless of their learning level. From easy-entry projects to limitless creative design possibilities, SPIKE Prime helps students learn the essential STEAM and 21st century skills needed to become the innovative minds of tomorrow - while having fun!

-Core Set-Education EV3 Core Set, Visual Studio Code with EV3 Micropython Extension
-Unit Plans-EV3 Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, EV3 Real-World Vehicles
LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 is a hands-on, cross-curricular solution that engages students and challenges them to practice STEM and robotics skills in a “near real-world” environment. It fosters the project-based learning that high school students thrive on. And it allows for in-depth study with the autonomy to define and reach individual goals, which is so important at this stage of education. The EV3 lessons are designed to prepare students for college and their future careers in our technology-infused world. Throughout the EV3 lessons, students design sophisticated and diverse robotics inventions for real-world prototyping using the advanced features and functionality of EV3 along with the text-based Python programming language. Programming with EV3 broadens high school students’ exposure to computer science, giving them more practical experience upon which to build job-specific skills in computer science, engineering, and areas of career and technical education(CTE), such as manufacturing, information technology, and pre-engineering.

Definitely check out these set and all that LEGO Education has to offer. Give kids the opportunity to Rebuild The World with LEGO!

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