The Powerful Learning in Making a LEGO Duck

One of the activities I have used time and time again is building a LEGO duck to showcase the power of hands on learning, thinking with parameters, and to revisit the power of being a kid again. This simple activity is a quick and yet powerful way to engage the brain into thinking and learning. I have used it to serve several purposes that I would like to share with you in hopes that it inspires you to give it a try.

Teaching Moment #1: Makerspace Workshop

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When I run a makerspace workshop I always start with a making challenge right away. Before I even introduce myself or anything else I toss out whatever the materials are needed for the day and we build. The goal is to model the way and not just talk about making. I want to break the traditional PD/session routine. So we build. We build quick. Here is how it works.

Materials

I used to have hundreds of these small duck kits of six pieces. If you can find these kits go for it. However, they are not required at all. I also know that is not practical so just give everyone the same pieces from the LEGO pieces you own. Pull random ones. Take the image above and try to find these type of pieces. Less is more to challenge the brain. If not, then grab some of the same pieces and don’t worry about the color.

If you don’t have LEGO pieces sitting around, then you have a few options

  1. Send out an email blast to parents. It is amazing how many middle school and high school parents will donate LEGO bins as they just sit and collect dust in their homes.
  2. Buy some. I recommend
    1. LEGO Classic Creative Supplement 10693 by LEGO http://amzn.to/2dK2Nbv 
    2. 500 Random Lego Pieces Washed Sanitized and… by LEGO http://amzn.to/2eLujbe
    3. Check Ebay, Craigslist, or Facebook Community Swaps

How It Works

We are jumping in right away. You will be thinking with your hands. Are you ready because here we go. No time to ease into things. We are getting after it right now. Put on your thinking caps boys and girls because this maker train is about to take off.

Here is your challenge: 

You will be given 60 seconds to make the best duck you can. Are you ready to do some thinking with your hands?

Get the timer ready. Put on your thinking hat and…….

GO!

It is amazing what they will come up with. Here are some examples of ducks created by students and my own kids when I was piloting and testing out the idea to make sure it was successful.

Post Duck Reflection

It is always good to reflect so I pose these questions for conversation with the whole group.

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What did you make? Go ahead and snap a picture and email it to aarmau@gmail.com so I can add it to our collection page.

  1. What skills are used to make a LEGO duck? https://answergarden.ch/view
  2. Are any ducks the same?
  3. What lessons did you learn?
  4. What would you try next time?
  5. How else could we document this process?

Wrap Up

I go on to show them how my daughter who was 4 at the time did the same challenge. My son even jumps in towards the end. I show this video because it is a good reminder how quickly the adult brain puts in parameters and sometimes limits creativity. She is not timed as she was only 4, but watching the process is pretty cool and a magical moment of being a kid. I apologize for her crazy hair.

LEGO Duck Challenge Part 2: Group Collaboration

Once we do this quick 3 minute activity you will witness the audience(adults, students, whoever) continue to build. Their eyes are down. They are tinkering with the pieces. What if I do this….. Or what if I change this piece…….What if I start all over…….

It is awesome. Instead of moving into the ho hum lecture style teaching and presenting we move quickly into another challenge. They have a bit of confidence. They have smiles. They are laughing.

So we go again

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I remind them of the following essential elements to making

  • Just start building. Trust your hands.
  • Let them pick the bricks they want.
  • If you are not sure where to start, then just let your hands do the work. The brain will catch up.

The Challenge

They will now be working as a team. No longer can they just think alone. They have to communicate, collaborate, and process how to make it work. Pay close attention to how the groups work. There are so many methods it is amazing and a great conversational piece.

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Post Team Duck Reflection

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Next Steps

By now they are good. They are content and ready to move on into substance. They have their fix. Theirs brains have been primed and juiced, but now they are ready for more. They want content. Connections. Proof of application.

You have them hooked. I quickly jump into a short discussion about play with the following ideas.

Play Allows Us To…..

  • Team build
  • Unleash creative thinking for accelerated innovation
  • Work out a solution to a shared problem
  • Create a shared mindset about something
  • Constructive discussions where everybody is heard
  • Build a shared vision
  • Leadership development
  • One-on-one coaching and team coaching
  • Use with your children, family, school, …

Conclusion

At this point you can move into your next activity. If you are in the classroom, then where would you go? If you are teaching teachers, then where would you go? I am interested in your next steps.

What do you think? I will be sharing part 2 next week with some other school wide building challenges, but for now I would love to know how you can incorporate this idea into your classroom and school?

 

via GIPHY

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Schoolwide LEGO World build challenge update!

A few weeks ago we launched the schoolwide LEGO World Build Challenge where teachers could sign their home room to come down and build for 15 minutes. I purchases over a $100 worth of base plates so there was room to build. It was well worth the cost.

The rules are simple

1. Don’t destroy any work on the board. You may modify and enhance, but not destroy.

2. Build what you want.

You can see my first post about this challenge to see where we started.

I have taken pictures each week to document the building process from a blank canvas to space slowly filling up.

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You can see the challenge now lies in the issue of taking what pieces we have left and creating something worthy. If you check the slideshow down below you see how many changes have taken place. We have had all sorts of things built and over time the ones that students don’t really dig slowly get taken over or eliminated, but not in a mean way.

Just today we had two really cool ideas develop that I will have to share at a later date.

This is a great challenge for students. They are limited on time so they must build quick and if they want their work to remain it must have a strong foundation that intrigues other classes. Each day a new wave of 15-20 students come and continue the journey. It is a great process.

And like everything else, I have big plans to make this even more epic soon!

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Coffeechug LOVES LEGO 21103 The DeLorean Time Machine Building Set

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Finally, the Lego kit I have been waiting for has arrived and I had time to actually build it the other day.

I am talking about the amazing Back To The Future DeLorean Time Machine. I will start off by stating that I loved this kit and love this build. If you are a fan of the movie, then this is a MUST HAVE!

Let me share some photos so you can see how cool it really is so you can justify buying one for yourself or kids.

When I opened up the box the goods come organized like this
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The booklet had some great information in it besides the instruction build. It was a joy to read.

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The kit comes with some additional add on pieces. The red hub cap, a new upgraded engine, and a clean energy diffuser
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Of course my guilty pleasure are minifigs so I just love these two! You can rotate the head to unveil different facial expressions which is very cool indeed!

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And of course the wheels fold in for flying perfection!

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Here is a top view

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Here is a back view( you can swap our the license plate if you wish)
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Here is my final picture taken with the doors open the way I like it!
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I loved it. It was not a complicated build, but one that I enjoyed doing. The moving pieces make this cool whether the wheels, the doors, or other items. If you can get your hands on this one, then I suggest you get one.

Now onwards to figure out how to connect it to a EV3 brick to give it some actual speed!

You can purchase it here

LEGO 21103 The DeLorean Time Machine Building Set

Here are the specs on the kit from Lego.com

Travel Back to the Future with the awesome DeLorean time machine!

Build your very own miniature version of the iconic DeLorean time machine that Dr. Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown and Marty McFly famously used to travel Back to the Future! Selected by LEGO® CUUSOO members, this amazing model features lots of cool details, like opening gull-wing doors, fold-up wheels, flux capacitor, time travel display and 2 license plates. We’ve also included extra engines and wheels so you can recreate the different variants of the time-traveling car featured in the Back to the Future movies! Finally, this unique set also includes a fascinating booklet containing production notes, original images and fun details from the movies. Includes 2 minifigures: Marty McFly and Doc Brown.

• Includes 2 minifigures: Marty McFly and Doc Brown
• Features opening gull-wing doors, fold-up wheels, flux capacitor, time travel display and 2 license plates
• Also includes Marty’s skateboard as well as extra engine and wheels
• Customize the car to match the movie versions
• Step on the gas and prepare to travel Back to the Future
• Open the gull-wing doors, just like the real car!
• Fold up the wheels and engage hover mode
• Jump on the skateboard and pull some tricks
• Build the model that LEGO® CUUSOO members requested!
• Includes building instructions and exclusive Back to the Future information booklet
• Car measures over 2” (6cm) high, 5” (15cm) long and 3” (8cm) wide

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