something that we all play with at home, so for them to be able to use it at school often means that although it doesn’t really like feel learning to them, they are gaining key coding skills. The ability to mix fun with learning is really great.

What other skills does it help with? Resilience; it’s really interesting to see how the kids respond when their builds don’t quite work the first time around. We’ve found that they actually aren’t as resilient as we thought they might be. When things go wrong, the ones that you would expect to be really high flyers suddenly aren’t sure what to do and, similarly, pupils who sometimes struggle in class are the ones who have made their model fully coded and have it running around the classroom.

To watch them go through that process, and encourage those that need it to try again has been fascinating. It’s allowed pupils to look back at what they’ve built, work out where it went wrong and persevere until they find the right solution. You have to get rid of your assumptions of the children’s capabilities, give them the freedom to explore and see what they can manage!

Creativity is another skill it’s really helped with. While some prefer to follow instructions and struggle to find the inspiration when given an open-ended project, others flourish and embrace using their imaginations to come up with all sorts of builds. I think it stems from a fear of getting it wrong but you have to remind them that there is no right or wrong when it comes to LEGO. It is whatever you want to make.

Finally, one that isn’t so obvious is time management. Our lessons are an hour to an hour and a half long so generally completing any activities within the timeframe can be quite a challenge. However, using the WeDo 2.0 sets, the children have effectively learnt how to manage their time when it comes to reading instructions, building models, coding and documenting within the timescale. Now they know exactly what stage they need to be at halfway through the lesson and this progress has been really nice to see, as time management can be quite a tricky thing.

Do you have examples of how you’ve used them in lessons?

We don’t really have specific computing lessons; we try and teach computing as a cross curricular subject and find that the LEGO Education sets work well for that.

For instance, the children might be designing buildings or tower blocks in design and technology and they could use the WeDo 2.0 earthquake simulator to actually make their models and test them to see if they work. A really nice example was when we were

working on an Eden Project activity, learning about pollination, plants and the lifecycle of a flower. After the trip, pupils came back and used the WeDo 2.0 pollination tutorial. They used the app, photographed the flower plants and then researched those elements in real life on the internet. We then made a factsheet which combined the real-life models and the LEGO together.

Would you encourage others to try LEGO Education?

Absolutely. It’s not just sitting in front of a screen and typing codes. It brings coding to life and makes lessons a lot more interactive and that’s often the key when it comes to grabbing their attention!

I think investing in a short training session when you get the kits is valuable so that teachers aren’t overwhelmed or daunted. Just 20 minutes at Bett was enough for me to realise how we could really make an impact in lessons. On our website we have a section where we post stories about what the children have learnt at school, including their LEGO Education projects. They always ask for their pictures to go on the website so that they can show mum and dad when they get home. That sort of pride and excitement tells us that kids aren’t just enjoying using it, their enjoying their achievements too. We find documenting and sharing like that really valuable, as they have to pack away their models after the hour lesson, so being able to capture, keep and share those memories is very important to them.

To read about Penpol’s stories using the Lego WeDo 2.0 sets, visit: class-7-build-and-code-lego-pulling-robots/

January 2018 17

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