STEM learning has become increasingly important to the country and the world. Recent trends in science and mathematical performances across the United States suggest that a focus and reinvigoration of STEM-based learning is needed to empower the bright young minds of today to become the professionals in engineering, science, and technology of tomorrow.
STEM learning, built on the pillars of its foundational virtues of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is the educational process that revolves around critical thinking, experience-based learning, and problem-solving that seeks to provide answers to real-world problems.
Due to the status quo, the world’s and the United States workforce offers a broad number of fields of interest that can offer a bright future for STEM-centric professionals. STEM education and learning offers a model of development that will allow parents to administer and catalyze their kids’ intellectual and physical development through the use of certain exercises. STEM, the comprehensive and complete paradigm that it is, simultaneously develops several essential skills through its application.
Lego building, one of the most prominent STEM-based activities of the past three decades, is a prime example of an exercise that develops multiple aspects of child learning. Fine motor skills through the use of the hands in assembling and disassembling lego parts, spatial cognition as they build each block with an end form in mind, critical thinking in deciding which blocks to use on which parts, and many other facets of development through creativity and novelty in the construction process of their end project.
Legos have been one of the most popular innovations for early learning and development in recent decades. LEGO education, in fact, is widely considered to be among the pioneers of STEAM learning, a variety of STEM education that inculcates elements of art and design.
Beyond being just toys, Legos are “an intuitive, inclusive, and highly adaptable hands-on learning system,” according to its official website. Through its extensive learning benefits, it develops children’s minds and hones them to become confident in learning, resilient in facing mistakes, and empowered through hands-on education. Legos make the unknown less scary as at a young age, they are exposed to the truth of unlimited possibilities. It nurtures passion and enables young minds to become independent thinkers through playful problem-solving.
Get started on STEM learning by trying out these 15 basic builds that you can try with your kids!
Build your dream house using legos. Try all sorts of shape combinations and explore endless forms by expanding your lego home however you want!
Use a base and start with the foundations, then lay the bottom row of bricks. Once you have that settled, you will be able to recognize that your house is taking shape. Build the outside walls and build a roof. If you plan on putting anything inside, make sure you get decorations sorted out before you put the roof overhead.
When you’re done with the main structure, proceed to add exterior designs like fences and flowers. Congratulations! You’ve got yourself a lego house.
To connect two different areas of your lego city, you’re going to need some infrastructure. A bridge would produce the best results and get the job done! Start by producing identical foundations.
The number of foundations will depend on how far the gap between your city will be, so better plan ahead. Create the road and place it over the foundations. Make sure your road stretches from one end to the next!
Now there are a lot of variations on the Lego Plane out there. But for this example, in particular, we’re going to stick to the basic build. The three main compartments will be the body, the wings, and the tail.
You can start with the main body. Make sure you craft it in the shape that you want it to be. After that, work on the wings and they go under the body. The final touch is the tail. You can build it using four to five blocks. Build it separately and attach it to the tail end of the body.
A specific set of legos are required to make Lego Cars, specifically the ones with wheels. There are several variations to making Lego Cars but generally speaking, the build order stays the same.
Start with attaching the wheels to the base of the figure and work your way up to the roof. Make sure you use the transparent materials appropriately and don’t get the window pieces mixed up.
Lego Spinning Tops
This is one of those fun ideas that can serve as a lesson on science as well. This one’s a bit more intricate than most of the other builds in this list because of the balancing element but overall, it’s still pretty easy to make and you and your child can have so much fun making and playing with these.
The most basic design is to use a single-dot square piece, five differently-sized flat square pieces, and two square blocks. Put one of the mid-sized squares as the base and create an inverted pyramid out of the rest. The two square blocks are going to be the handle so attach them as such. The single dot piece goes to the very bottom of the inverted pyramid, being its summit, and will act as the point which touches the ground as it spins.
Simple yet majestic, build the pyramid in any personalized color pattern you and your child wish. Fundamentally, a pyramid is made by using a wide base that becomes narrower as it approaches the summit.
There are packaged legos specifically designed to create the tank. The more advanced ones introduce a mechanism that the main turret to turn. It is, however, not limited to just that form, there are various ways to create these machines and their compartments.
With some strings and turning gears attached to a wall, a pulley is very much possible to build using legos. Aside from being a fun little contraption, this mechanism can also be a subject for a quick science lesson on tools, physics, and force.
The windmill would be a good starting point for a lesson on alternative energy. These medieval wonders were quite the handy structures in the past and could be a gateway to a lot of fun as you and your child get to building.
It can be an entry point to literature, through Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein; a lesson on science, its physics and energy production; and history for its relevance in times past.
Another piece for a brief history or literary lesson, Lego Castles has been go-to builds ever since it was conceived in the 1980s. Build a layout on a flat block and start to build your walls up. Make sure you include a gate or two. Guard or watchtowers for that recognizable facade wouldn’t hurt as well.
This would be a fun build to start your lesson with, be it for literary studies through a re-telling of fairy tale classics like Rapunzel, or a lesson on world history. Castles are fun in form and function.
Trucks of all sorts can play a lot of roles for you and your child’s lego city. From fire trucks to monster trucks, there are sets customized for certain builds and lego packages made for some versatility. Whatever the case, imagination is the limit. With legos, there’s a wide array of options to choose from when it comes to creating the truck you need for your lego city.
Submarines can be a point of discussion for science classes and literature. It’s a fine engineering marvel that allows underwater exploration subjected to multiple works of fiction. Through this sub-aquatic mechanism, you can segue educational topics towards science concepts like buoyancy or underwater life. You can also connect the build experience to Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.”
Towers are one of the most basic builds a person can do on the most basic lego set. You can make a game out of it by making the session a competition for building the highest tower. Once someone wins, you can make it a science lesson to explain why other designs were quick to fall. Easy and fun – just the way LEGO designed it.
Lego Stairs are often overlooked as items for STEM-based learning. Learning about stairs can be attributed to science by way of physics and the use of inclined planes, and it can be easily attached to structures you and your child seek to build. The common model of the typical stairs is practical but with contemporary lego sets, stairs come in many shapes.
These are 15 easy and basic builds that any parent can enjoy with their children. Legos, despite being over 40 years old, continue to innovate and blaze the trail for both STEM and STEAM learning.
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