January 29, 2020 (Cornwall, ON) – This week, students in Grade 2 to Grade 4 at Bridgewood Public School showcased their Lego Fusion Boomtown Build projects, an experiential learning initiative that challenged students to build accessible and eco-friendly buildings for a town.
This program was delivered through a partnership between the First Lego League Jr. and the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB). The program is designed to introduce STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts and 21st century skills to students using materials – in this case Lego – that they are familiar with.
Over the last 15 weeks, students met weekly with a Lego Fusion instructor who helped them develop their build concepts. This involved planning and measuring the layouts of their structures, programming electronic elements, and building structures that would be durable.
Students came up with ideas that included a hotel with a science lab, office buildings that were solar powered and a police station that used an elevator to transport inmates.
As part of the project, students learned how to work in medium-sized groups (approximately six or seven students per build), learned more about what is required for buildings to be eco-friendly and accessible, and had an opportunity to enhance their literacy and presentation skills through the final showcase.
“When you ask kids to think about being eco-friendly, they come up with ideas that adults wouldn’t. A project like this really brings excitement to learning, but there is a trickle-down effect too. For example, their classroom teachers have noticed that the students involved in this are becoming more confident using scientific words. Sustainable and durable are sophisticated words for students of this age,” says Jennifer Perry, principal at Bridgewood Public School. “Now that we are part of the program, we can continue for as long as we want. We are excited to role this out with our Grade 1 to Grade 3 students next year and continue it with our juniors as well. Projects like this are very easy to incorporate into the curriculum.”
Three UCDSB schools will take part in the project this year. Central Public School in Cornwall will be presenting their builds to parents and community members in early February and Linklater Public School in Gananoque will kick of their Boomtown Builds in mid-February.