How to Incorporate STEM and Legos Into the Classroom
Teachers have found many benefits in incorporating STEM and Legos in the classroom.
If you have to come up with a toy mascot for STEM, what would it be? I’m sure Legos would be high on the list. They go incredibly well together. We’ve made so many educational projects with Legos as the center of the activity.
Coming up with STEM projects using Legos is straightforward. Having your students build a bridge with Legos over water incorporates the core subjects of STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
There can be a little more than coming up with project ideas, so let’s get into how to incorporate STEM and Legos.
Incorporate STEM and Lego Into the Classroom
Legos have been around for almost an entire century, and they never seem to shy away from being one of the most popular building toys.
Do your kids love Legos? I know for my kids, building with Legos is almost a daily activity.
Heck, I even get down on the floor and play Legos with my kids.
Legos have built a brand for themselves that is hard to really mirror. Much of the brand really comes down to the quality of the product, but also the endless possibilities for learning that it supports. Making it a surprisingly useful manipulative for any classroom!
These are some of the many reasons that incorporating STEM and Legos in the classroom is a perfect match.
The Many Benefits of Building with Legos
Vibrant colors and character-themed sets aside. Lego has a plethora of benefits for children. Which is why we put them high on our list of STEM materials that need to be in every classroom!
There is nothing better than using a manipulative that you have at your own home in the classroom (we think this is a bonus as it can potentially increase engagement in any classroom activity).
Legos hit a variety of key development markers for kids. It helps build fine motor skills for those little finger muscles as kids pull and stack the bricks.
They allow for imaginative play and creativity as kids can think up a structure and bring it to life. If that building doesn’t come to life quite how they wanted, it then invites in problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
One of the ways children can engage and expand these skills is with the help of adults and teachers around them.
Are you interested in Lego Construction Sets? We’ve gathered the best Lego sets and found some awesome projects.
Legos and STEM Together
So how do you incorporate Legos into a STEM-based lesson plan? Well, the good news is, that the possibilities are endless.
Lego themselves have offered a space on their website for teachers and parents to access specific sets to teach STEM-related lessons.
My kids and I even tested out a few specific Lego education sets. Check out our breakdown of some of the sets we explored. There is always an opportunity to expand the use of this toy by incorporating guided lessons.
Check out these additional guided lessons using Legos!
Science and with Legos
From experimenting to building you creatively find ways to apply a science curriculum while using Legos.
The Four Seasons
Activity: Print out pictures of items that relate to all four seasons (For example, mittens for winter, flowers for spring, surfboard for summer, and pumpkin for fall). Next, have your students build these items with their Lego blocks.
Why we love it: every child’s item is going to look different. It is up to them to decide creatively. It helps them organize specific items for certain seasons. Noting that we don’t always use every item year-round. Why not? How does the weather impact that?
You can learn more about these Lego activities here.
Technology with Legos
Create a Paint Machine
Activity: A Duplo turntable Lego brick is required for this! Using Legos, the students can build a paint machine. The machine must be taller than the paintbrush so the paintbrush can hang from the machine. Then using the turntable, they can problem solve to figure out how to move their paint brush round and round.
Why we love it: It incorporates art, engineering, and technology! Every part is open-ended. From the artwork to the building. This structure might be fragile, so it may require a lot of experimentation.
You can learn more about the Lego paint machine here.
Lego Gravity Project
Activity: This one requires specific pieces, meaning this may be more of a station in your classroom rather than a set for every child. Using the specific pieces, create a roller that defies gravity.
Why we love it: This one forces the students to experiment with weight, friction, and structure. An expansive opportunity for collaboration and critical thinking!
You can find more information about this Lego project here.
Engineering with Legos
This one might seem a bit obvious because Legos are MADE for building. Kids can put their building skills to the test in so many ways!
Story Time Lego Building Challenge
Activity: Read a morning story to the class. Each child gets to decide on one item that they want to build from the story.
Why We Love it: It blends literacy and engineering together. Prompting the children that they get to choose what they want to build allows for autonomy. This helps them engage with the story even more!
You can find all the information on this cute project here.
Build a Lego Rainbow
Activity: Discuss what the colors of the rainbow are, and what order they are in. Map out how many pieces you might need for each color. Experiment, work together, and problem solve by building out your rainbow!
Why We Love it: You can use this activity to expand into a science lesson. You can discuss a variety of things like, what makes a rainbow? What climates might a rainbow appear in most? What are primary and secondary colors?
You can find detailed step-by-step instructions on how to make this Lego rainbow here.
Mathematics with Legos
Lego Addition Cards
Activity: This is a pretty literal approach to using Legos as manipulatives and an incredible one! Print out additional flash cards. Let your students sort their Legos into colors. Then allow them to use the Legos to solve their addition problem. (Ex. 4 blue + 3 red = how many total?)
Why We Love it: Creating a visual for kids is one of the first ways they can begin to understand a concept. It is a great way to introduce easy addition. It encourages rote counting! There are tons of Lego math mats out there for teachers!
You can find the Lego addition cards here.
Create a Bar Graph
Activity: Find a large Lego plate (we’ve found some cheap ones right here). As a class survey a specific topic. Ex. What is your favorite fruit? Each child gets to answer. Then using their own Legos, allow them to count out and build their own chart. Once complete, ask open-ended questions that allow them to observe their chart.
Why We Love it: It incorporates math, science, and engineering! Creating a 3D graph allows for a great visual to comprehend and read their graph.
You can find more information about this project here.
Literacy with Legos
This one is a bonus that could be considered outside the realm of STEM education. It goes without saying though, that it is just as important!
Activity: Have your students practice writing out their name, identify each letter, and sound it out. Then using Legos, see if they can build each letter in their name. Voila, you’ll have a 3D name tag.
Why We Love it: Children begin to first identify letters and sounds through their very own name. Now they can take it one step further by building each letter! The building might be the tricky part, so this might require patience and problem-solving.
Click here to find more information about building Lego names.
Spelling with Legos
Activity: A great activity to help with letter identification and sounds. Maybe use your spelling list for the week. Allow students to use removable stickers to write out single letters and place them on a single Lego block.
With partners, they can test each other. From scrambled letters, they can combine the blocks to spell out each word.
Why We Love it: When you break apart a word, it helps you sound it out. You can use it as a group and partnered activity.
You can find other suggestions on spelling with Legos here.
In conclusion, we think Legos are an essential STEM item for every classroom. There are a ton of online resources out there for teachers to use to brainstorm ideas and lesson plans. When we explore new creative ways of learning for our children, it makes it that much more fun for them!
Please take a look at our round-up of the best Lego Technic Sets for STEM.