2017-10-21 / Education

Legos become teaching tool at North End, Woodland

By Anna Fletcher
Courier-Times Staff Writer


Students in North End Elementary School’s Lego Club build Lego contraptions at their first club meeting. 
submitted Students in North End Elementary School’s Lego Club build Lego contraptions at their first club meeting. submitted Lego bricks are more than just a popular children’s toy from the 1930s or little plastic landmines in the carpet that cause crippling foot pain. At North End and Woodland Elementary Schools, they’re being used to study technology and the arts.

Under the guidance of media coordinator Doug Glenning, students in each school’s Lego Club meet weekly to study science, technology, engineering, art and math - the components of S.T.E.A.M., an initiative by the Rhode Island School of Design working to integrate these innovative subjects into the education system.

Glenning was inspired to share the movement with his students after being involved in the Person County Technology Fair last spring. He’s calling the theme of the club “Build Up STEAM with LEGO.”

“I’m hoping to get the kids interested in thinking critically and more familiar with the ’S’ and ’T’ part, and then build projects and make things that they can enter into next year’s technology fair,” he said.

The North End Lego Club had its first meeting on Monday at 3 p.m. The 20 attending students discussed gravity, chain reactions and the mechanics of a wheel and axel, and then Glenning had them put their knowledge to action.

“The students each built something that had an axel and wheel on it to cause a chain reaction using gravity,” he said. “They responded really well.”

Glenning said that several students built a ramp for a car to roll down and knock a standing Lego piece into another. One student, he said, constructed a rotating tower.

According to Glenning, the students will focus on different STEAM-related subjects every week. The next meeting will feature alternative energy, such as air power. In the future, he said, students will construct catapults to study tension and force, dig for Legos in a block of ice to study archaeology and build a bridge to study structural engineering. Towards the end of the year, they’ll even design and construct a zip-line.

The first Woodland Lego Club meeting was on Thursday, Oct. 19.

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