Building Lego cities
We Built this City with….Legos! This elective seeks to prompt students to discover the fun and relevance of designing with Legos. The course will be student directed; the students will investigate real cities, fictional places and structures constructed with Legos. They will discuss various design and architectural elements and envision their own Lego cities. They will explore other builders’ work via websites and try to connect with some to ask questions. The children will study the work of fellow Lego enthusiasts and consider their passion for a world of possibilities. Students in this course will investigate aspects of Lego construction that are of significant interest to them.
This class was designed for student to be able to reference, visualize, plan and develop their own cities constructed with Legos!
All of the students in this class had some prior knowledge of building with Legos. Over the first two classes, the students spent a lot of time sharing what they knew and reflecting on their experiences with the group. Many have been on the school robotics team for years and have built very complex projects with Legos. They were able to share engineering expertise and advice with the novice class members. Experience and preference varied from building with kits to a more freestyle form of creating. During the discussions, the students came to the conclusion that creativity is the key indicator of success during building.
Building with Legos
Next, via internet searches, students examined actual cities and structures of interest around the world that have, in fact, been created with Legos by professional builders and amateur enthusiasts, with and without kits. They looked closely at photographs of the original structures and then the Lego counterparts, comparing how the unique features were created with common Lego pieces. They then completed an informal inventory of the existing Lego supply at school. They explored ideas about how to collectively build the class’ city by way of a World Cafe format which enabled students to cycle through small group discussions with a leading question. They talked about what their city should contain, how it should look and how the group could collaborate effectively.
Students then worked together to map out the city; they created a plan before beginning construction. Students discussed obstacles as they arose and they encouraged each other to work collectively to solve each issue. In many cases, younger students looked to older students for help. The students often bartered with each other for pieces; through this they learned how to negotiate. They were also observed helping each other redesign the buildings around the “trades”, during which pieces were lost or gained.
The class watched The Lego Story, a seventeen minute animated short, about how the Legos company started and evolved, through sometimes tragic and difficult circumstances, to become the corporate giant it is today. The students were interested in how the company made wooden toys long before discovering plastics. Most of them agreed that Legos would not be as much fun or as easy to use if they had remained wooden. They of them agreed that Legos is a revolutionary product that still reigns supreme.
Overall, this elective was a fun and interactive experience. The students made many structures that they were proud of and all showed improvement in their construction talents. There were plenty of opportunities to give students individual attention and to listen to and provide feedback about their ideas and aspirations for their projects. The course length was long enough to accomplish each student’s individual goals. Legos were a great equalizer, and as time went on new leaders emerged in the class. Students felt more and more successful and increasingly connected to other builders in the class.
Beautiful Lego, Mike Doyle
The LEGO Story
The LEGO Story Out-takes
TEACHER: Mari McMahon
Voyagers’ Community School 215 Broad Street Eatontown, NJ 07724
Proud to be MSA Accredited