This week is National Science Week in Australia and to celebrate I am sharing several blog posts dedicated to how I have used popular technology tools to enrich science learning. In today's post, I share how a simple thematic connection between Lego We Do and the Year 5 STEM unit resulted in an afternoon of fun, problem solving and cooperative learning.
While browsing the IOS app, I happened upon one of the investigative units, Plants and Pollinators, which made a nice thematic connection with the Year 5 STEM unit this term. Students are using the alarming decline in bee populations around the globe as a lens for problem-based learning. During the unit students study the anatomy of bees and flowers and the important role bees play in producing the food we eat. It is more than honey! Without bees a variety of fruits and vegetables would no longer be produced. Students watch Vanishing of the Bees and several other documentaries to discover the threats to bee populations. Colony collapse disorder, Varroa Mites, diseases, pollution, habitat destruction and agricultural pesticides are all contributing factors.
Last year, the Year 5 students decided to make bee homes for native bees in the area. This year, students are developing pollinator gardens to support the native bee hives on our collage campus. Raising awareness is also a major part of what the children wish to do and so they are hosting a special "Bee Aware Day" at school.
The greatest benefit to the students in relation to this project was the cooperative learning and problem solving the build presented to them. It was a tricky one to complete (intermediate level) and students worked in pairs to accomplish the task. The interpretation and visualisation of the build, as well as the construction, challenged students. Perseverance was essential. The students were totally absorbed and had so much fun with the task. Further learning opportunities suggest then having students innovate on the design, create alternative pollinator models or expand the model to demonstrate cross pollination.
The lessons on the Lego Education Website have some great ways to link with not only Science, but also other STEM subjects. As well as being great tools for facilitating the instruction of coding and design, sets are flexible and are only limited by your (or the student's) imaginations.
How have you used Lego WeDo at your school? Please share below in the comments!
Read all about my thoughts on teaching in the 21st Century, my experiences with technology in the classroom, running a Maker Space, launching STEAM and Design Thinking with students, coding, robotics and much more!
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