The Story of C.R.E.A.T.E.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Old Toys, New Tools

We have a new Lego Wall, now what?

Tools can be engaging, making can inspire agency, but all of it needs to support education.

I saw a Lego wall at a friend's Fab Lab. It was a section of square Lego tiles mounted vertically on a wall. Students could build projects or, (and this was cool) marble runs. But a Lego wall isn't just fun. It's a sophisticated educational tool that connects to a variety of education skills across the grade levels. I had to have one.

My high school and college-aged kids Legos were now disused. I could donate them to the project, but we only had one of the 64 7x7-inch Lego tiles needed for the project. A DonorsChoose campaign languished for a while until an anonymous donor swooped in and paid for nearly the whole thing.

Our sister middle school provided a massive plywood substrate upon which to mount the tiles. The whole things easily weighs more than 300 pounds. So make sure your mounting system is substantial. We used an interlocking wooden cleat system that runs the full width of the plywood.

We followed Dana Rendina's excellent plan for How to build a Lego Wall. If you build one, read Dana's page. She will keep you from making some of the most common mistakes.

So now what do we do with it?

I created a brief video showing a simple marble run and a short document describing the wall and listing a number of relevant NGSS and CCSS standards that could be addressed via projects and exercises using it.

Schools resumes in six weeks. There's no doubt that the students will create ways of using this new tool that I cannot imagine.