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Brick By Brick: Lego Expo Builds Generations Skills

Brick By Brick: Lego Expo Builds Generations Skills
Posted on 01/21/2020
Stevens student builds FIRST LEGO project Learning content and facts matters, but what matters more is giving students the opportunity to apply that content to real-world situations, problems, and scenarios – where students get the chance to practice Generations skills such as communication, self-direction, civic engagement, problem-solving, and creativity.

It was through this lens that GT (Gifted and Talented) students in grades 2-4 at Stevens Elementary imagined a better world as part of the FIRST LEGO City Shaper and Boomtown Build expo in December, 2019.

FIRST LEGO (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization that partners with Lego education to design challenges that combine the engineering design process with hands-on learning and real world application. 

Primary students took part in the FIRST LEGO League Jr. pre-expo prep and the December event.  The expo’s theme was Boomtown Build - a fictional city-scape where students designed and created new buildings out of classic Lego bricks.

Stevens 4th graders participated in the FIRST LEGO League City Shaper Challenge which required students to complete a research project that solved a problem of urbanization. As part of the expo, students also designed and built Lego Mindstorm®  robots and programmed their robots to perform a series of functions using block coding, a special programming language used by the Lego robot system.  
To prepare for the expo event, Stevens students started the school year learning about major leaps in human development that highlighted advancements such as capturing fire, language development, agriculture, the industrial revolution, and the Internet age. Students then identified problems associated with urbanization such as habitat loss, water shortages, homelessness, traffic congestion, and the affordable housing crisis. Finally, students developed solutions to these problems by elevating transportation systems to relieve surface street congestion, restructuring infrastructure to provide multi-modal transportation to city residents, designing a lifestyle cart for the homeless that includes a sink, bed, and storage area, and by zoning cities for mixed-use areas that cut down on traffic while increasing access to affordable housing. In order to conceptualize these solutions, students used traditional and motorized Legos to model their ideas as they prepared for the December event.  

The culmination of this research and proto-type build-out process was a FIRST LEGO expo event held at Stevens Elementary on December 13, 2019. Teams from Columbine Hills Elementary, Stevens, and Boulder Valley School District shared their LEGO builds that helped demonstrate what they learned throughout the school year leading up to the event. High school LEGO robotics teams also traveled from schools around the metro area to demonstrate their robots’ functions and then invited their younger peers to test and drive their robots. 

Framed with trying to solve some of humanity's most challenging problems, students explained their proposed solutions to parents, families, peers, and evaluators. Throughout the research run-up and the expo event itself, Jeffco students were learning coding, robotics, and engineering while putting to use problem-solving skills using creativity, self-direction, collaboration, and communication while working on the civic engagement project, thanks to the FIRST LEGO collaboration. 

Awesome opportunities like this FIRST Lego expo event allow Jeffco students the opportunity to learn and apply the Generations skills, one Lego brick at a time. 
 Stevens Students LEGO Expo Dec 2019  Stevens Students LEGO Expo Dec 2019  Stevens Students LEGO Expo Dec 2019
 Evaluators look over Stevens 3rd Graders Projects  Stevens 4th Grade FIRST LEGO Team  Stevens student building FIRST LEGO project

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