Today, LEGO unveils new LEGO Education STEAM Park set at the New York City Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Whether an educator or a homeschooler or just a parent really interested in working on early education STEAM, the new LEGO Education STEAM Park offers the best of all worlds. The review set LEGO Education sent me was not only pretty awesome, but it’s going to make some teachers and kids in my hometown pretty happy.
The assets provided focused a great deal on the difference between STEM and STEAM in education. STEM traditionally stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Meanwhile, STEAM adds in an “A” to incorporate Art into this. As someone who teaches, I appreciated the links to the different educational studies done to show the value of STEAM. As a mom, I love that the movement towards incorporating art and math/science gives all kids the opportunity to explore their multifaceted personalities. As someone who teaches engineers, I often explore the duality of education’s approach and the internalized beliefs that my students feel good at either STEM or writing. STEAM offers a way into this for younger kids so that they don’t fall into these binary traps.
What’s in the box?
So very much is in the box. Starting out, you’ve got 295 pieced of DUPLO LEGO bricks. However, these aren’t just random bricks nor are they build according to set directions. THis is everything we love about LEGO all wrapped up into one big box of fabulous.
But wait – there’s more.
What are the teacher resources?
The LEGO Education series specifically targets educators, as evidenced by the name. However, a lot of products tout education only to be classroom sized quantities that come with a price to match. The LEGO Education STEAM Park is meant to help teachers, and it delivers. I don’t teach kindergarten, but I do teach. Taking a look at the materials for educators included, I’m kind of in love.
Let’s start with the teacher guide available online. No one likes lesson planning. When adding new resources to your classroom, sometimes the burden of the lesson plans makes it feel too overwhelming. The LEGO Education STEAM Park brings teacher the resources to help ease that burden while also meeting core curriculum requirements.
All the LEGO Education sets come with a variety of lesson plans to help teachers incorporate their sets into the classroom. The STEAM park offers ways to help teachers show their students how to explore movement and motion, cause and effect, estimations and measurement, spatial awareness, roleplay, self-expression, and creativity.
At the time of writing, the teacher guide for this set had not gone live. However, looking at the ones for other sets, the guides offer varying degrees of sophistication and application offering teachers ways to use the projects to either support kids throughout their growth during the year or to offer individualized education within a single lesson to help give differing levels within the classroom a challenge.
The activity cards rock. Each card offers two different level of activity. The green are the beginner level and the blue the challenging model.
These cards are basically the build directions for the different configurations of blocks. For example, one of the cards has a simple rocking pirate ship on one side and a more challenging clown/cupcake rocking ride on the other. These cards again offer teachers the opportunity to either scaffold or to offer variations of the same lesson to address the different sophistication levels of students within a single classroom.
What I liked the most
As an educator, I recognize that some of the most important lessons aren’t in the plans. They’re the ones that come from having an experience.
Here at GeekMom, we talk about diversity a lot. We’ve discussed racial diversity and gender diversity. On occasion, we’ve even addressed age diversity. We talk a lot about mental health.
One thing we don’t discuss nearly enough is physical able-ism and diversity.
The LEGO Education STEAM Park has all of these. Every. Single. One. There’s boys and girls. White and brown. Older and younger.
And, there’s a wheelchair.
Even more to the point, it’s not the gray-haired older woman in the wheelchair. She’s the one pushing the wheelchair.
Y’all, I just love this. I love this so much. How often to we have a chance to let our kids explore able-ism in safe ways?
Not many. I can clearly remember when my kid was probably 3 or 4, them looking at someone who was missing a limb and asking questions. Loudly. In a small, public space. As I hurriedly attempted to shush my kid, I realized we needed to discuss the difference between types of bodies. However, that’s not always easy with little kids.
The LEGO Education STEAM Park gives us this opening. This, to me, is one of the most important points.
When you’re teaching a diverse group of kids, you need to be able to represent all of them. By including a single piece, the wheel chair, the new Education STEAM Park does this. Bravo.
What’s this about a giveaway?
Right, we’re giving away one LEGO Education STEAM Park for one lucky entrant. We’re starting today and we’re giving people a week to enter. On November 7th, we’ll be choosing our lucky winner at random.
Want to enter?
a Rafflecopter giveaway