Last week I walked past Cindy Jensen's classroom and noticed her students working with Lego pieces so I stopped in to check out the situation.
Cindy explained she has been involved with a STEM grant which is an intense program that involved 2 days of training last spring, 8 days of classes this past summer, an online book study, and development of a unit that uses the Engineering Design Process in our classrooms. Linda Mrazik (I will highlight next week) and her were chosen to participate, along with 28 other K-12 teachers. The technology is to be integrated throughout the classroom. Some of the technology that was given is for their personal and professional use was; an iPad, iTunes cards, video camera, and tripod.
Cindy and Linda were given $800 to spend in our classrooms. Cindy chose to buy 22 BuildtoExpress lego kits. BuildToExpress is a method to facilitate and develop the skills needed for constructive, creative,and developmental processes of reflection and communication.
Four elements make up the core of the BuildtoExpress method:
1. Students use LEGO bricks to build models to represent their thoughts and reflections.
2. Students share their stories about their LEGO models and their meanings.
3. The BuildToExpress process follows a structure and certain rules.
4. Process facilitation is used throughout the process - the facilitator is the key to the process and its success.
Cindy used the BuildToExpress method during the Dating Violence unit. Some of the "builds" that students did were "Build a Model Representing a Healthy Relationship" and "Build a Model Representing an Important Scene from the movie "No One Would Tell". Students shared their models and reflections and also did a related writing assignment. Cindy noticed how students liked to think with their "hands" and listen with their "eyes" as classmates shared.
Great Job Cindy!