Today from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference, LEGO® Education highlights the impact of hands-on learning on building students’ confidence in STEAM learning. The School District of Philadelphia and San Diego Unified School District offer two powerful examples of engaging students and helping to prepare them with the skills needed for their future by using hands-on LEGO learning solutions.
“LEGO Education solutions allow kids to shed their labels and find the way that they can express themselves and interact with the world,” says Paula Don, director of gifted and talented education for the School District of Philadelphia. “As an educator, there’s no better feeling than seeing students excited to come to school and learn. LEGO Education solutions are a powerful and creative tool in creating enthusiasm and confidence among our kids by teaching them to try and then try again, whether it’s finding a solution to a problem or being able to communicate with their peers.”
The School District of Philadelphia, the eighth largest in the nation, turned to LEGO Education to help its diverse student population find their confidence and interact with each other in new ways through hands-on learning. From students with learning disabilities to those who excel beyond their level, the classroom has become a place to grow through trial and error. Hands-on LEGO learning develops fundamental communication skills at the primary level and is also used to teach more advanced coding skills to those in accelerated math and science.
At San Diego Unified School District, 44 of the district’s 119 schools have already committed to being STEAM schools, which means they teach one hour of STEAM at least four days a week. Michael Goodbody, the district’s program manager for STEAM Innovation, first took a data-driven approach to implementing STEAM learning into the district after he was able to track student success back to third grade. Those not performing at grade level were more likely to drop out.
Recognizing this pivotal time as an opportunity, Goodbody’s dynamic team of STEAM architects, Zoë Randall and Lacy Szuwalski, began developing a high quality curriculum that was informed by and included LEGO Education solutions to provide foundational experiences that would set kids up for success through middle and high school.
“We want to influence kids’ mindsets during those formative years and as they develop their sense of self. We want to break down those barriers that society has set up like what is for boys and what is for girls and who’s an engineer and what do they look like. Rather, we can all be scientists because we’re doing science every day in the classroom,” says Michael Goodbody, program manager for STEAM Innovation for San Diego Unified School District.
As one of the pioneers in hands-on learning, LEGO Education designs its solutions from start to finish to engage students of all ages and skill levels, teaching technical STEAM skills, as well as other important 21st century skills including collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. Although the value of STEAM skills and learning is widely accepted, fewer than 1 in 5 students feel “very confident” when it comes to learning STEAM subjects, according to a recent Harris poll looking at confidence in the classroom. The success in Philadelphia and San Diego schools further supports the poll’s findings that hands-on learning is the best way to build confidence in STEAM subjects.
To help build confidence in your classroom, teachers can use the free LEGO Education Confidence Building Classroom activities for various grade levels.
About LEGO Education
LEGO® Education offers hands-on, playful STEAM learning experiences based on the LEGO® system of bricks, hardware, software and content for students and their teachers in early learning, primary, and secondary education as well as through after-school programs and competitions. These solutions create an environment for active, collaborative learning where students build skills for their future, a lifelong love for learning and confidence in their ability to learn and solve problems, setting them up for lifelong success.
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