We love Legos. We have way too many on some days–like when they are left loose on the floor. On other days, we don’t have enough–or not enough of certain parts. The point is we have lots of Legos. We use them for play and we use them for learning. Legos have been used for math lessons, science lessons, special Maker Faire projects, and robotics. Legos have been combined with Snap Circuits, LittleBits, and parts taken out of old/broken electronics. And, Lego NXT for robot competitions has become a serious hobby! Both hubby and son have Lego NXT Sumo Bots. We used to have the Lego easy reader books but now we have all kinds of technical Lego how to books and Lego robotic books.
Legos has become a family affair. I like building by following directions to create structures and animals. Hubby and son like building and tweaking robotic creations as well as doing remote control projects. We keep our most special projects built and stored up high. And, when we travel to family in WI, they have more Legos up there waiting for us! I must admit, we greatly appreciate the fact that my MIL kept all of the Lego sets with their directions from my hubby and his brother’s childhood. Thus, Lego is more than play, its family bonding, and it’s definitely fun learning too.
Sadly, many don’t realize the learning potential of Legos and only view them as expensive building toys. Well, I hope my post will open people’s mind to the unlimited use of Legos. In fact, many people are unaware that Lego has an educational site separate from their traditional site. And, homeschoolers can make purchases from there just like any other educational institution. Lego even has some sets as home school bundles. Here is the Lego educational site: https://education.lego.com/en-us/lesi/homeschool/homeschool-solutions Please note that sometimes Homeschool Buyers Coop will have a group discount on various Lego Educational kits. You can often find bulk lots of Legos on eBay or Craigslist for cheaper too. And there are even places to buy Legos by individual pieces such as Brick Link.
There is even curriculum out there specifically for Legos as well as neat building projects for kids (or adults) to recreate. The following are some good ones we have played with:
- MIT has free curriculum that uses Legos for teaching Chemistry (chemical reactions, photosynthesis, understanding air, and other modules ): http://edgerton.mit.edu/atoms-molecules
- You can build your own particle detector with Legos based on their free directions: http://build-your-own-particle-detector.org/models/lhc-micro-models
- You can build a gearbox with Legos based on their directions (need to purchase the step-by-step, but they do have videos and pictures for free): http://jaaptechnic.blogspot.nl/2014/01/gearbox-6-speed-nr.htm
- Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy has robotic curriculum for EV3 and NXT Mindstorms that can be purchased: http://www.education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/content/lego/curriculum/index.htm
- Texas Tech University has a bunch of Lego robotics resources available for free: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/tstem/curriculum/robotics/
- Geek Mom Projects wrote a curriculum for NXT Mindstorms: http://www.geekmomprojects.com/a-lego-mindstorms-nxt-curriculum/
- Lego Engineering is filled with Engineering resources for NXT, EV3, and WeDo: http://www.legoengineering.com/category/activity/curriculum/
- NASA has some Lego Models of their crafts that you can recreate and robotic challenges: http://mms.gsfc.nasa.gov/epo_mms_lego_model.html http://robotics.nasa.gov/students/challenge.php http://robotics.nasa.gov/edu/matrix.php http://cache.lego.com/upload/contenttemplating/legospacecomactivities/otherfiles/download5b4308ee1eb2fe5f0fc6e228c4efd8aa.pdf
There are even blogs filled with ideas specifically on homeschooling with Legos. Yes, you can use Legos for reading, writing, math, science, and engineering lessons. Hopefully, at least one of these will inspire some great Lego creativity for you and your family:
- http://www.milkandcookiesblog.com/category/homeschooling/teaching-with-lego/ (Milk and Cookies is an official Lego Blogger.)
- http://www.homegrownlearners.com/lego-learning (Homegrown Learners is also an official Lego Blogger.)
- http://www.freehomeschooldeals.com/category/lego/ (Free Homeschool Deals is not an offical Lego Blogger but has lots of links to Lego homeschool resources.)
- http://teachersofgoodthings.com/how-to-utilize-legos-in-home-school/ (Teachers of Good Things is not an official Lego Blogger but has resources for using Legos organized by subject.)
- http://thecanadianhomeschooler.com/challenges/lego-quest-2/ (The Canadian Homeschooler is not an official Lego blogger but has a monthly Lego challenge and they have months going back to 2013.)
- http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/1026881/homeschool-lego-learning-activities (She Knows is not an official Lego blogger.)
- http://blogshewrote.org/2014/01/19/benefits-of-using-lego-mindstorms-in-your-homeschool/ (Blog She Wrote is not an official Lego blogger but has good information on using Lego Mindstorms for homeschooling.)
- http://www.ericharshbarger.org/lego/puzzles.html (Eric is not an official Lego blogger, but his blog is filled with Lego puzzle challenges.)
Pinterest is also loaded with Lego homeschooling ideas:
- https://www.pinterest.com/JustJamerrill/lego-homeschool/ Lego Homeschool Board has over 200 Lego projects pinned.
- https://www.pinterest.com/dolliesinterest/everything-legos/ Everything Legos has over 150 Lego projects pinned.
- https://www.pinterest.com/jennyking242/lego-homeschool/ Lego Homeschool has over 260 Lego projects pinned.
- https://www.pinterest.com/RS4Christ/homeschool-lego/ Homeschool Lego has over 300 Lego projects pinned.
In addition to traditional sets for building, Lego has several ways to teach robotics such as Lego WeDo, Lego NXT, and Lego EV3. And, you can even use Scratch (free computer programming from MIT) with Lego WeDo. Homeschoolers can also participate in various Lego competitions such as Lego Sumobot, Lego Battlebot, Robofest, EARLY, Jr. FLL, FLL, First Tech Challenge, and Robot Olympiad.
Now, go build something and add Lego to your homeschooling day!