At Rowntree Montessori Schools, we provide activities before and after school that allow students to explore additional extracurricular talents and interests in fun and engaging ways. One of the activities that our students enjoy is called Lego Works. This activity gives students an opportunity to collaborate on creating 3D structures in an imaginative way out of Lego. According to experts, playing with Lego has eight educational benefits. Firstly it promotes fine motor skills and encourages teamwork. It also helps improve creativity, develops problem-solving and mathematical thinking, and can help improve communication skills. Playing with Lego has also helped children develop skills to become persistent, improve self-esteem, and can help develop lateral thinking and planning skills (as noted by A. Akotva at the Scot College from Sydney, Australia in 2017).
The use of Lego during our activity time often helps students (especially younger students) learn and improve on many important skills. For example, we often see that the usage of Lego helps to improve fine motor skills with young students. As they learn to connect different sizes and shapes of these pieces using varying amounts of hand pressure, it seems to help the child control the pressure they assert when using a pencil to either write or draw. During our activity time with the Lego, we also see students learn about teamwork, especially as young students learn to share the pieces, while negotiating about their roles and responsibilities and the idea of how to extend the construction of their ideas. Our Lego Works activity also promotes creativity, as we allow the students to explore their imaginative side without limitations and fear of failure. Students also learn problem-solving skills related to mathematical concepts when using Lego, by understanding that certain smaller pieces can be fitted to larger ones to explain fractions.
Lego helps improve communication skills as students need to explain their ideas, their process, their work and the challenges they faced to create the structure or model. Plus we see that the use of Lego during our assigned time helps students develop persistence and grit, as they must keep on working even when the structure falls over. When students complete their final structure with the Lego during activity time, they often proudly show off their work, which helps to boost their self-esteem and confidence. Finally, time with 3D Lego constructions seems to help students develop lateral thinking and planning skills, as they face many challenges when constructing their ideas and often have to retrace their steps in the process and figure out a solution to any problem that arises. Overall, we see that allowing students to explore their creative ideas through Lego construction increases their ability to think critically, and helps students to improve their problem-solving skills, which is important for our 21st Century learners.