LEGO resources are among the oldest yet durable, versatile and sustainable playing and learning resources parents can invest in for their children. Subsequently, you can’t find a better framework to use in advancing STEM learning in the 21st century for children. LEGO grows with your child and has the amazing capability to be used to teach STEM skills and concepts as your child move through the learning developmental stages. If you have children between the ages of 4-12 years old, here are some of the best ways you can use LEGO to harness your child’s STEM learning.
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LEGO and the “S” in STEM
Science is interdisciplinary in STEM. You can’t really learn STEM strands independent of each area. Subsequently, the salient skills and concepts identified in each STEM strand are used more for emphasis. Therefore you will be better able to engage your child and become aware of the specific skills and concepts you are building and advancing. It is always good to start off with your child’s interest. How can you identify this? Just observe what is it your child likes to do.
Children within this age cohort are natural scientists. They have the knock for inquiry. They ask questions and also explore the natural world. You want to build their observation skills, investigation skills and allow them to test their hypothesis. They come up with findings and give explanations as to why. These are the foundation science skills they will need through life to solve problems and think critically. Every child needs to be proficient in STEM and become a global citizen of the 21st century and beyond.
Top on my list is the Tree House this is an interdisciplinary science set for your child to learn science skills and concepts. Parents can develop a project around the theme. This also provides parents with the opportunity to scaffold your child as early as 8 years old in learning about the plant –based, environmentally friendly material this set is made of. The Tree House gives your child the opportunity to explore the natural world and gives parents the opportunity to be an active agent in protecting the environment.
Your child may have the opportunity from an early age to learn about climate change. Talk with your child about the plants round the tree house. Talk about trees and their benefits to people, animals and the environment. There are also dinosaur toys and submarine adventure toy parents can choose from for their child to learn about science and develop interesting projects.
LEGO and the “T” in STEM
Children need to know how to use technology and how technology assist them in learning. Most children are also very much interested in using technology. By interacting with technology children develop skills such as fine motor, virtual, creative, innovative and animation skills. These skills are very useful since your child is living in the digital technology era. Now please note, any use of tool in playing is actually using technology. So, for each suggestion given throughout the STEM strands technology is being used.
As parents you can enhance your child’s technological awareness by utilizing LEGO games inclusive of play station, LEGO Masters and choose from a wide range of Lego technological resource kits. Much of the technology is interwoven in the engineering and math of STEM as well.
LEGO and the “E” in STEM
Bricks and Houses
There is so much to learn about engineering from engaging with Logo resources. Children dive into these experiences. Some foundation skills for your child to learn are assembly skills, these are even broken down further , spatial assembly skills, visuo- spatial assembly skills, construction and motor skills. Children expand their logical thinking, problem solving, creativity and innovation working with Lego resources to build engineering awareness.
There are a wide array of brick sets, play house set, fire station, school, hospital and store sets and robotic sets your child can build, construct and assemble. Your child can create models by assembling and constructing using 3 demension skills , spatial awareness and creativity. Children as young as your child can even come up with an innovative idea and create it using these resources. Remember, you want your child to solve problems now and in the future. Therefore, provide your child the opportunity to develop engineering skills.
LEGO and the “M” in STEM
Math is the foundation of STEM. Early math skills predict your child’s future math and reading ability. I know alot of parents get nervous even by the mention of the word math. However, math skills are core skills your child must develop to be a functional citizen in the 21st century. Much of that.
LEGO sets are superb for math learning. They aid in developing and advancing, your child’s number sense by aiding in number recognition, number order, counting, number quantity, equivalence, set concepts, patterning, sequencing, shape and color recognition, critical thinking and problem solving skills. These are the foundation skills and concepts of math. Your child must anchor these skills to build on advance math skills as they develop.
Parents can choose from a variety of creative brick shapes, number puzzles, numbers, fractions,patterning, brick sets, math games and math idea kits. Remember all parents need to do is to provide the space, tools and opportunity for children to create their live experiences in learning STEM. Just in case you are uneasy about this; please be mindful, your child is learning through a child centered approach. Each child is the initiator of learning by exploring the diverse STEM environment you would have set up. So go ahead and do it. You will see the positive results now and later.
As responsible parents you want your child to succeed in STEM. LEGO resources are one of the most ideal to invest in for building your child’s STEM awareness. They are among the oldest yet durable, versatile and sustainable playing and learning resources. You get value for your money, they grow with your child and they provide opportunities for building skills and concepts at each stage of development. Your child’s creative and innovative skills are unearthed and you don’t need be an expert to ensure your child is given the optimum experience in learning STEM.
Please leave your comments, suggestions, opinions, ideas and or questions in the comments section. I am more than happy to respond to you at the most convenient time. Thank you for giving your child the best opportunity in building and advancing STEM skills and concepts.
Tracy-Ann Morgan-Smith, PhD, JP