Source: Amie Taylor , ehow.com
If you grew up in America in the last 50 years, you've probably played with Legos. These multicolored, interlocking plastic bricks, invented in Denmark and sold in more than 130 countries, come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and allow children to use their imaginations to construct anything they can think of. While Legos are considered toys, they also serve a useful purpose in the classroom. Several options exist to use Legos in an educational way.
- Purchase or collect as many Legos as possible. Purchasing Legos in large quantities can be expensive. If this is an expense you will incur yourself, there are ways to save money. Search thrift stores, flea markets and garages sales for inexpensive Legos. Send out an e-mail to the parents of your students asking them to contribute to the classroom Lego collection by sending in Legos from home or purchasing Lego kits to donate.
- Consult the Lego Education website for lesson plans and ideas for using Legos in the classroom. Suggestions for classroom use are divided into age-appropriate sections for all ages -- preschool, lower primary, upper primary and secondary. Specific Lego collections are also suggested for a variety of activities.
- Teach colors, counting, mathematics and fractions using Legos. Have each child select a Lego out of a paper sack and then tell you the color. Set out a certain number of Legos and ask students to count them. Build a structure out of Legos using two different colors. Ask the children to identify fractions based on how many Legos are one color. Ask them what fraction the other color of Legos represents.
- Build word and spelling skills using Legos. Use a permanent marker to write one alphabet letter on the side of each Lego. Allow the children to choose a number of Lego bricks. Instruct them to create words out of the letters they've chosen by stacking the bricks in the appropriate order. Use each completed word to build sentences.
- Use Legos to build hand and eye coordination and fine motor skills, explain spatial relationships and promote construction skills. Build a structure and ask children to duplicate it exactly. Have each child create a different type of building and construct a Lego city.
- Rewards students for a job well done with Lego playtime. Use Legos as an optional activity during free periods. While structured activities with Legos promote learning, so does independent play. Allow students to use their imagination and creativity to build with Lego bricks and to play as desired. Sharing and teamwork is a good lesson to promote during free playtime.