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If you are like me, I thought Legos were just toys with no educational value, until I found out that they are serious tools for homeschooling! Lego Technic bricks are and projects should be used in every homeschool and we will tell you why!
Lego Technic builds your child’s knowledge of physics principles, problem-solving, and play. There is a set for any age and it develops spatial reasoning skills. While doing project-based learning and collaborating, they are boosting their creative and logic skills while having fun.
Lego Technic sets Develop skills in Physics and Science
Lego Technic sets are well-designed toys that are built for real applications in physics and science. Through the intricate combination of bricks, beams, pins, gears, and other specialized components, anyone can build real working machines! From simple exercises in levers and friction through more complex gearing combinations, your child is making things engineering students have to learn in university. But to my son, he’s just having fun building something cool with his friends and classmates.
There is real evidence to support these wonderful toys and how they can improve your child’s performance in demanding subjects like physics and the sciences. Moreover, problem-solving is boosted as well, and what other toys that you know of can do this? These toys are not made just for boys, they also work with girls as well. Across the board, they can be a helpful and fun part of your homeschool curriculum.
Lego Develops Spatial Reasoning Skills
My son can play with his Lego Technic set for hours and focus on building an entire city. And what I find so amazing is that each day he can start over and build something entirely new. This is developing his spatial reasoning skills. I watch him concentrate on balancing, and placement or selecting just the right components and it takes his razor-sharp focus to do it. I especially like it so I can get some time to myself between lessons and let him relax from his studies.
“When kids are building with blocks and Legos, they’re using spatial reasoning skills,”Amy Shelton, a cognitive psychologist, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth
If your child is gifted and has an aptitude for spatial reasoning then you certainly want to use lego Technic to challenge them and develop this valuable skill. Kids who are gifted in math and sciences and spatial reasoning are well suited for the STEM programs and on track for engineering, medicine, and architecture. Very often children who are gifted in these areas are not very challenged by the usual math curriculums and need more stimulating lessons like Legos. If your child is one of these gifted with higher spatial reasoning skills you will want to utilize Lego in your homeschool curriculum.
“By recognizing spatially gifted children and providing them with an appropriate challenge in their talent area, the future pool of students pursuing STEM fields such as architecture, medicine, dentistry, and engineering as well as the arts will likely increase.”Challenging the Neglected Spatially Gifted Student with FIRST Lego League
There are Lego Technic Sets for Every Age Group
Lego Technic comes in a range of sets and difficulties starting at age 6. One of the first educational sets that might interest you might be the LEGO Education BricQ Motion Essential Set 45401. It’s a complete set of essential parts and comes with over 523 bricks and you get an introductory STEAM experience of “2 units of 7 x 45-minute lessons (1 each for lower and upper primary grades), plus math and language arts extensions for additional learning”. (From Lego’s site)
It comes in a provided tray where you can keep and sort the bricks and your child will have an endless amount of fun just creating things by themselves. My son’s first-ever Lego Technic set we bought was LEGO Technic Skid Steer Loader 42116. We also had so many Lego sets from my older kids leftover. But back then I didn’t know about Technic and had no idea of their place in a homeschool.
Lego Sets Have Complete Resources for Homeschoolers
If you consider the number of resources available, Lego has a comprehensive amount of material to use. All you need can be found on their specialized site focused on education. They have downloads for the instruction and lessons as well as kit information. This is perfect if you are inclined to do the lessons by yourself and not join an outside class or co-op. As a homeschooling father, I love playing and building things with my son, so we do it together. But we also attend classes since this is the real benefit of doing group projects where they can help and learn from each other. It’s much better to work on problem-based projects rather than just following directions. It has been shown that creativity might be stifled if your kids only just follow instructions to build the kits.
Collaborating on Lego Creations Builds Communication
This only works if your child is in a Lego class with other children or they play with Legos with other children. My first experience was with a group of three kids and a teacher. The project we worked on together was to build a bridge. The project introduced the concept of load, tension, compression, and bracing. The kids all built similar bridges and tested them together. Then they modified them to increase the load capacity.
That class made me realize the value and importance of collaboration and communication when playing with Lego Technic. The kids shared, discussed, and used their skills to improve their bridges as a group. That means they had to understand and apply the concepts they learned in the class. They were troubleshooting their designs like good little bridge engineers.
I wish I had more photos of that day. Maybe it was too cool and I was astonished they were learning key engineering and physics concepts. During the next 3 classes, they built a catapult. And they also experimented by adjusting the beam length and lever position to find out the effects on the launching distance of the projectile. The kids worked on their projects and discussed and shared how to modify and improve their catapults. I realized this kind of project was engaging and they could grasp the concepts. Most importantly, they had so much fun while they collaborated.
Project-Based Learning with Lego Technic
If you’re searching for an activity that can work on your child’s creativity, then Lego Technic is the perfect Project Based Learning tool. You should use in it your homeschool curriculum because it will spark your kid’s creative juices and they will be building and learning at the same time. Once they get the hang of how the parts go together and how they can make different cool assemblies, they will create some amazing things. My son even combines different types of blocks, Jenga, and other toys to create cities, zoos, hotels, and whatever his mind comes up with.
Project-based learning (PBL) is when projects are assigned and through the development of the project, the end result is evaluated rather than a written test for example. The outcome would be for example, could they build an object correctly, or could the catapult shoot the projectile a certain distance? As the child works through the PBL Lego project, they will need to collaborate, experiment, and do trial-by-error methods to find solutions. Depending on the project it also requires creativity and therefore can be a useful and engaging activity for homeschool.
“allows students to work in a constructionist, collaborative learning environment that promotes the sharing of ideas.”Using LEGO Robotics in a Project-Based Learning Environment
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