“Geared up for STEM – the LEGO Project”

BY Ann Emerson

Harwich Elementary School

Project Description

“Geared up for STEM – the LEGO Project” is to inspire students in Kindergarten through 4th Grade of the Monomoy Cooperative Learning Programs to become active learners. The students will experiment collaboratively by working with Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) manipulatives and with open-ended questions. Through their accomplishments they will increase self-esteem, learn the importance of careful observation, and working collaboratively. The activities will include using LEGO simple machine projects. Students will construct and understand the development of simple machines. The students will design a simple machine that will be used to perform a pre-determined function. Examples of these projects are creating a mechanical watering can for plants, a machine that will deliver mail across the room, or a stuffed animal that will “automatically” hug.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

The “Geared up for STEM – the LEGO Project” is measured on a gradient scale. The short term goal is to give students who may not have the advantage of attending STEM related enrichment courses, an opportunity to delve into a STEM learning project. The long term goal is to have students become more active in their learning which will help them remember what they learned through active engagement. After the project students should have a better understanding of STEM concepts, STEM literacy, and critical thinking skills such a project based learning. To measure the success of the “GEARED up for STEM- the LEGO Project”, the students will use the information that they have used to design and create a simple mechanical project that showcases their learning achievement. The students will keep a scientific journal that will track and record their progress and offer a summary of their project.

Benefit to the students and the school

Students from Kindergarten to 4th Grade will develop critical thinking skills, communication and problem-solving abilities which they can apply to their other classes.  Having students excited about learning will benefit the school as it will create a fun learning environment.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)

The curriculum will spiral, by building upon the concepts that the students have already learned and reviewed.  The first part of the project will run for six weeks as  students work in pairs on the LEGO simple machine sets twice a week.  Students will learn one specific simple machine in each lesson (ie: wedge, screw, gears, levers, pulleys, wheels and axels.)  Once the students have attained adequate understanding of simple machines, they will then apply this knowledge in the creation of a simple machine that will perform a given task.  This part of the project will run for two times a week for four weeks.  At the conclusion of the project the students will be asked to write a reflection essay on their whole experience.