LEGOs have been a part of the toy scene for decades. Children are able to use their imaginations to build wondrous creations that can transport them to different worlds.
LEGOs can also be a part of the curriculum in the classroom. When teaching simple machines, this is an ideal tool.
When teaching simple machines to younger grades, LEGO Duplo Early Machines III make the lessons come to life. This set can be used by a teacher when teaching levers, rolling vehicles, spinning objects, rafts and in many other ways. Once a teacher introduces the topic of simple machines and the class discusses the different types, the teacher can pull out the Early Simple Machines Set and allow the children to create models of the machines. They can be creative in making levers, pulleys, or items with wheels and axles. They can even see if they can create a buoyant or balanced item.
There is also an Early Machines that can be used to encourage teamwork in the classroom, as students work together to create items dealing with the same concepts that were taught at the elementary years, but add reasoning and critical thinking. Students can also build with the idea of predicting how the machine will work, or even if it will.
Middle and high school
As a student’s education continues, they begin to learn about motors, and how to use wind energy. There is a Technic set that allows students, after having the subject introduced in the classroom, to explore and create. They can use this tool to explore the effect that the size and the amount of friction changes the way that a machine moves.
The Laws of Motion can also be explored through the use of LEGOs. The first law says that “Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.” This can be demonstrated with a simple LEGO model with wheels, then have the students explore what outside forces cause the car to stop, and what could be done to make it move farther.
The second Law of Motion states, “The relationship between an object’s mass, its acceleration, and the applied force if F= ma. The direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector. “ This can also be demonstrated with these blocks as the children try to prove or disprove the law through their creations.
The third Law of Motions is “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” With a motorized vehicle, the children can explore what the actions and reactions are, how, if they are changed, can this law be made null, or will it always be demonstrated correctly.
LEGOs have many used in the classroom, but these ideas are some ideas for teachers to keep in mind for an enlightening, creative lesson.