LEGO Education Announces Presale for New LEGO Education MoreToMath 1-2 Solution

MoreToMath 1-2 Core Set with MathBuilder Software

Today, LEGO Education announced the presale of LEGO Education MoreToMath 1-2, a supplemental tool for first and second grades, aimed at teaching and reinforcing the practices of mathematical problem solving as defined by the latest national standards. This innovative classroom resource uses the familiar LEGO brick as the tool that makes abstract math tangible. The addition of MoreToMath builds on LEGO Education’s commitment to deliver engaging, elementary learning solutions across subject areas.

Availability will be in January 2015.

  • MoreToMath 1-2 is a hands-on educational tool for Grades 1-2 targeted at teaching mathematical problem solving, a key component of today’s mathematics curriculum
  • The LEGO Education MoreToMath 1-2 solution includes a LEGO brick set designed for classroom use, curriculum, teacher training videos, an interactive whiteboard software and teacher and student worksheets with built-in assessment that teaches and reinforces the eight practices of mathematical problem solving as defined by the latest Common Core Math standards.
  • The focus of the 48 lessons in the curriculum pack is to provide concrete but challenging problem solving activities for students using the LEGO brick as a hands-on manipulative through which mathematical exploration takes place.

MoreToMath 1-2

For more information and to order your MoreToMath 1-2 solution for delivery in January 2015 please click here.

LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2015 The LEGO Group.

 

Announcing the 2014 Global Finalists of the Google Science Fair

From Russia to Australia, France, India and Canada, the finalists — ages 13-18 — have created a diverse set of ideas trying to make a positive change in the world.

To see all 15 incredible projects, check them out at the Google Science Fair website.

2014 Google Science Fair Finalists:

Age 13-14

Age 15-16

Age 17-18

Special recognition also goes to Kenneth who has also been awarded the Scientific American Science In Action Award. The prize celebrates a project that addresses a health, resource or environmental challenge and is rewarded with a year’s mentoring from Scientific American and a $50,000 grant toward the project.

What’s next? The 2014 finalists will be California bound to compete at Google HQ on September 22 for the three age category prizes and of course, the overall Google Science Fair Grand Prize Award. The competition will end in style with an awards ceremony, which will be live streamed on the Science Fair YouTube channel and on this website. Tune in to be one of the first to find out this year’s winners!

Be sure to cast a vote via the Google Science Fair website beginning September 1 to pick the 2014 Voter’s Choice Award winner.

 

Building Student’s Softer Skills, One Brick at a Time

BTE photo for Character Blog

We all want the opportunity to help build the leaders of tomorrow but one important thing we must equip future leaders with is a strong sense of character. Muriel Summers, principal at A.B. Combs Elementary, in Raleigh, North Carolina, takes this to heart, tirelessly working to create young, charismatic leaders, who understand the needs of themselves and others. Here is her story.

Ten years ago, upon her initial arrival at Combs, Muriel Summers was faced with losing her school’s magnet status. In order to maintain it, her Supervisor tasked her with  creating a specialized magnet school concept “like no other in the U.S, using no additional resources”. Through much deliberation, and after attending a keynote given by the late, Dr. Stephen Covey, Muriel decided to transform the school’s stagnant culture and curriculum and shift its core focus to center upon Leadership. The rest is history.

A.B. Combs is a diverse elementary school, boasting children from 64 countries. By recognizing that each student possesses unique gifts and talents, and building on students’ strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses, Muriel and the other faculty guide A.B. Combs students to continually achieve high levels of academic performance year after year. Combs success in teaching leadership is so apparent that hundreds of administrators and teachers from around the world come to the school’s “Leadership Days” twice a year to learn of their amazing program, in hopes to implement a similar version in their schools.

The staff at A.B. Combs is constantly innovating, and looking to help students not only perform to key learning targets, but to become true 21st century learners equipped for whatever lies ahead. Muriel Summers and her staff were among the first schools to implement LEGO Education BuildToExpress, a way of using LEGO bricks to foster a deeper dialogue with students.  Working closely with LEGO Education, A.B. Combs helped pioneer the use of this facilitative classroom method that strengthens students’ abstract thinking and problem-solving skills. The BuildToExpress process combines specific teaching principles, professional development, and a specially formulated set of LEGO bricks to create a hands-on learning environment where teachers can facilitate healthy classroom dialogue and all students can form a deeper connection with what’s being taught. In one lesson, the teacher invited a World War II Veteran to speak to the class.  She then had the students create LEGO builds that expressed what they had learned about the role of veterans and their service in war time.  Can we add another example here?

According to Muriel Summers regarding BuildToExpress, “There’s no price tag that you can put on what I have seen happen as a result of providing this for our children.  I’ve been in education thirty-four years, this is a gift.  It is a gift of expression, a gift of confidence, a gift of collaboration, a gift of higher-order thinking and problem solving, it’s a gift of understanding and there is absolutely nothing else like it out there to bring about conversation and understanding and appreciation for one another’s ideas.  The bottom line is the academics are soaring as a result of us finding ways to infuse it into every curriculum area in the school.”

BuildToExpress has enhanced A.B. Combs’ leadership program by developing a healthy environment where students learn from one another and respect one another’s thoughts. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders and don’t we owe them the chance to have characteristics we can be proud of?

After first using BuildToExpress in the classroom, a student said “thank you for letting me use my imagination.”

 

Have you thanked an engineer today?

STEM blog for elementary portfolio

We often take the modern conveniences we use every single day for granted, and forget that an engineer made many of them possible. Rarely do we consider the feats of engineering that surround us, from cutting-edge automobile design to the very soles of your running shoes.  Since technology is all around us, we all need to have a basic understanding of the gadgets and gizmos to be a productive, well-educated citizen.

In the not-so-distant past, creative problem solvers such as engineers and scientists were regarded as heroes. Engineers and inventors forged a path of success, even in the face of many obstacles, such as society’s skepticism and rudimentary tools available at the time. In an age of reality television, being an engineer lacks certain glamour.

Engineering and sciences fueled the industrial revolution, the PC revolution, and now the communication revolution. All of these events dramatically affected the entire globe, shaping economies, opening new avenues for innovation, and shaping our lives on a macro and micro level.

Today, to be successful, all students to be equipped with STEM skills and the creative problem-solving skills necessary to be innovative and creative.  Creativity should be infused into all subjects, and not left on the back-burner for chance.

How can we provide the opportunities for today’s students and help them see tomorrow’s possibilities?

”The majority of scientists say they developed their passion for science by age 11.  That means that the educational experience children have in grade school profoundly impacts our nation’s ability to graduate a prepared STEM work force,”  said Dr. Mae C. Jemison, an American physician and NASA astronaut.

All children have innate curiosity and unique talents.  By creating environments where learning happens in a variety of ways – hands-on, visual, physical, etc. – we help students discover their innate talents and unlock their special skills. And no, I am not only talking about shop class as a way to find out if the interest lies in vocational training to be carpenter. There are people that can be engineers, but who never discovered this talent because they were asked to learn science using only pen and paper.  How can you see the connection to the real world via a textbook?

At least 8 million jobs available to college graduates in 2018 will be in STEM professions. To put that into perspective, STEM careers are expected to grow by 17% from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8% growth for non-STEM occupations. Roughly half of these positions will be in entirely new occupations.  Yet, of all bachelor’s degrees granted in the 2009/2010 academic year, just 5.4 percent were in engineering and 2.4 percent were in computer science. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics.)

This creates a unique challenge for our country’s educators, don’t you think?  How do we adequately teach students the skills that will prepare them for occupations that we don’t even know about yet? One-third of STEM jobs do not require a college degree, but require STEM-literate high school and community college graduates. This means that even for those students who don’t chose to obtain a college degree, STEM skills are still very relevant. (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration: STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, July 2011)

There are many programs created to drive student interest in science and engineering. Invest your company’s time and energy in supporting programs that have proven track records of success such as the FIRST Robotics Competition, founded by Dean Kamen that has been described as the ‘Super Bowl of Smarts’ “where every player can go pro.”  Connections like these not only inspire young people to understand the value of studying science and technology, but also make them aware of their prospects with inspirational future employers.

By looking to avenues such as these to support STEM education and bring creative problem-solving into the classroom, you are helping to shape a community of creative, life-long learners – and these are the workers that will accelerate our country’s technological future.

Engaging Students in Reading and Writing with LEGO Bricks

SS image for elementary blog

“Adolescents entering the adult world in the 21st century will read and write more than at any other time in human history. They will need advanced levels of literacy to perform their jobs, run their households, act as citizens, and conduct their personal lives.” — Richard Vaca, author of Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum

Stop and let this sink in. If nothing else, this statement should ring the alarm for how absolutely critical it is for us to equip our young learners with these basic skills. Additionally, it means that literacy learning cannot be confined to one teacher for a limited time during the day, but must be infused across all subject areas, as well as, practiced at home. Essentially, we are all responsible for ensuring our students can read and write.

Here is another statistic: ¾ of Americans think schools should put more emphasis on teaching students to write well. – National Writing Project, 2011-2012 Report

These statistics help to support the fact that reading and writing are considered cornerstones in creating effective communicators, learners, and ultimately leaders. However, educator insights into the world of language arts reveal that reading and writing are also two of the most challenging areas to keep students engaged in. So how do we engage and entice children to want to learn to read and write? We need to make literacy an exciting experience for students of all abilities and backgrounds.

LEGO Education has a proven track record in the field of STEM education but is actually transforming all areas of learning. With LEGO Education StoryStarter, elementary students utilize hands-on materials to bring language arts learning to life. StoryStarter aligns with common core standards, ensuring teachers are creating a vibrant learning experience while meeting key learning objectives.

LEGO Education StoryStarter teaches students the basic mechanics of a well-composed story, making it a great tool for analyzing existing stories, writing new stories or discussing specific, current topics.

Students learn how to communicate their stories and are engaged in writing, gaining essential skills that will support their entire academic career and beyond.

With StoryStarter students find the excitement and motivation to tell their stories and become strong communicators. This type of engagement will better equip them to become the leaders and creative problem solvers of tomorrow.

 

Developing 21st Century Skills through Hands-on Learning

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With more than 30 years of experience in understanding how children learn, LEGO Education believes a hands-on, minds-on approach helps students actively take ownership of the learning process and develop 21st-century skills such as creative thinking and problem solving through real-life, engaging experiences.

We are also affiliated with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) an advocacy group promoting 21st century readiness for every student in the United States. We work closely with this organization to help redefine how children are being prepared for 21st century careers and skills by connecting the classroom with real world environments.

P21 and its members provide tools and resources to support the U.S. education system by ensuring every student is college, career and citizenship ready to compete in a global economy.

Why are 21st century skills important?  What’s all the hype about? Sixty-five percent of today’s children will end up in jobs that haven’t been invented yet.  Our world and our daily lives are becoming more global.  Today’s students will be tomorrow’s citizens, parents, and employees, and must be prepared to be successful in an ever-changing global economy. Every job will require blended abilities across four key areas: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity. If we enable our students today to have strong skills in these four areas, then we are creating a generation that will be effective in working with diverse cultures and geographies in a wide variety of careers and professions

We want to focus on one key area of the four: creativity. Rather than teaching our children to memorize and recite facts, we need to make sure they are engaged in creative problem solving.  We must start with fostering each student’s creative leadership in the classroom if we’re to successfully prepare them for a vibrant future. Tapping into individual creative leadership will drive improvement and enable us to deliver a learning outcome that responds to both the need of the individual and to the changing needs of society.

If we can provide children with tools and programs through which they have free-form ability to create or resolve problems, without the restriction of having a ‘right answer,’ we eliminate inhibitions and promote creativity – helping them develop the tenacity and ability to adapt to change that is so  for every student’s success in their education and in life.

Be sure to check out the video on ‘Communication as the currency of the Future’ by Stephan Turnipseed, P21 Chairman and President Emeritus, LEGO Education North America.

 

 

So a Robot Walked Into a Science Lab…

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Robots, robots are everywhere and yes, even in your science classroom. The word “robot” is common and spoken in many homes and classrooms today. And why shouldn’t it be? There are robots in every aspect of our lives. We see revolutionary deployments such as the Mars Rover on a faraway planet to deep sea exploration and discovering new species of marine life. But robotics also touches our daily lives, from our Roomba vacuum, to our students/children competing in robotics competitions. It is a natural fit for a robot to be a staple in engineering classes but what about science labs?

As luck would have it, it is also appropriate for science since robotics is multidisciplinary, covering physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics and others and is a great tool for science teachers to use in their classroom and labs. A multidisciplinary tool is necessary due to the growing need for educators to meet the Next Generation Science Standards. The expectations have greatly increased that students will have robust analytical and quantitative skills by the time they graduate high school.  The only way to accomplish this is moving away from the memorization of facts to a hands-on approach where students can learn by doing.  Science class is a natural forum for hands-on learning given the need for experimentation.  Additionally, students aren’t afraid to try new things using new methods to learn, especially when it’s considered “cool” and they are encouraged by their instructor.

With the launch of the new LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 platform last year, we are making it easier for science teachers to use robots in their classrooms. With the new LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 Science Activity Pack, we worked with leading curriculum specialists such as Fraunhofer to find the best ways to use robotics to teach science. There are 14 activities focused on 4 different disciplinary core concepts: renewable energy, thermal physics, mechanics and light. But don’t take our word for it, here is a quote from a forty year veteran and no stranger to technology in the science lab:

“It is very exciting to see LEGO Education expanding its offerings by seriously entering into the education markets and filling numerous needs that exist with instructional delivery.  I have had the opportunity to view a number of your short videos that demonstrate cutting edge applications that address very critical topics for student learning within many important instructional areas (STEM, Science, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering).  Quite frankly, I find your equipment and thrust to be attention getting, engaging, and having the prospect of being very effective within various classroom settings.  There is no doubt that your devices and approaches would have immense national appeal, within the U.S., with the aforementioned areas.”

-          Charles H. Goodwin, DTE, chairperson for the N.Y.S. STEM Education Collaborative, and chairperson for the N.Y.S. Technology and Engineering Educators Advisory Council; forty years of instruction spanning middle school through graduate school within the subject areas of technology education, pre-engineering, applied science and applied physics.

The curriculum is available today and more information can be found here.

Changes to the LEGO Education U. S. Website!

We have moved our website to a new platform and want to inform you of a few changes that you might notice in your next visit. Please continue to use www.LEGOeducation.us to visit the site.

  • New Account Required – When making your next online purchase, you will have the option to create a new LEGO ID, login using an existing LEGO ID or checkout as a guest. Since we are now a new legal entity, we must ask you to reestablish yourself with our new company. Your previous user id and password will not work on the new site.
  • LEGO ID – If you already have a LEGO ID account, it will now work on the LEGO Education web shop too. This same LEGO ID will connect you to the LEGO Education Community and LEGO Education Resources Online (LERO) for downloading software. Currently LEGO ducation does not participate in the VIP points program, so VIP points that you’ve gained from shop.LEGO.com cannot be used at LEGOeducation.us, and and VIP points will not be earned from shopping with LEGO Education.
  • Tax Exempt Organizations – If purchasing as a tax exempt organization, on your first online order you will have the ability to indicate a tax exempt status and will be prompted to submit a tax exempt certificate before your order will ship. Because we are a new legal entity, this will be required even if you have previously submitted a tax exempt certificate to our previous company. Once you are approved, your LEGO ID account will be marked as tax exempt for future purchases.
  • Shop and Learn Paths – The new site is designed with navigation options for customers to shop or learn more. The shop path takes you directly to product pages enabling a quick and easy checkout. The learn path takes you to content pages where you will find videos, stories and information about LEGO Education and our classroom solutions.

We will continue to build upon this platform to further enhance your online experience with us!

Check out the new site!

New and improved LEGO DUPLO Farm Set and LEGO DUPLO Multi Vehicles Set

New and improved LEGO DUPLO Farm Set and LEGO DUPLO Multi Vehicles Set

LEGO Education has updated its popular LEGO DUPLO Farm set and LEGO DUPLO Multi Vehicles Set to include new learning values and elements.

 New Farm Set   

LEGO DUPLO Farm Set

The LEGO DUPLO Farm set has been updated with new and improved set features including materials for constructing two farm buildings and an animal shelter (previous set allowed for one large farm building and one other small hut. The set comes complete with tons of farm-life accessories including:

  • a tractor (new design for this set);
  • a milk truck (completely new element addition);
  • a conveyor belt (completely new element addition);
  • a variety of different farm animals, fences, and farm implements

This set can be used by a number of children at one time and comes with a range of inspirational activity ideas that are ideal for stimulating creativity and actively encouraging free play.

Learning Values:

  • Understanding animal care
  • Cooperating in groups and developing expressive language and vocabulary
  • Discovering the concept of seasons, crops, and where food comes from
  • Sorting and classifying animal habitats and behaviors
  • Learning to engage in creative free play
  • sorting and categorizing

Cost: $149.95

Number of Elements: 154

Level: Ages 2-5

Storage Bin: Included

 Vehicles Set product

LEGO DUPLO Multi Vehicles Set

The revised set features a new series of cars and designs including:

  • a family car (redesigned element),
  • police car (new addition),
  • repair truck (redesigned element),
  • road van (redesigned element),
  • ambulance (new addition),
  • motorbike (redesigned element),
  • a farmer’s truck (new addition), as well as four drivers

This set is also now delivered in a decorated cardboard box.

Learning values:

  • Help children to understand the use of road transport and also different functions in the community with this Multi Vehicles set.
  • By having the drivers interact with each other, children can explore what each of the community services does and how they can help each other to provide them.
  •  Exploring interpersonal relationships represents a vital part of children’s socialization and how they relate to the wider world.

Cost: $69.95

Number of Elements: 32

Level: Ages 2-5

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

One of the most creative writers in our history, we celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America Day. We hope this little poem gets those creative juices flowing in your classroom!

Dr Seuss BTE Image

Are you sick of receiving spam?

Not hungry for green eggs and ham?

Then grab some LEGO bricks and see

That you have creativity!

Build a tower, a boat, a car.

Build a zloot and take it far.

Find the kid inside of you –

Let it go – see what you do!

LEGO bricks are so much fun,

Your brain will never be bored or done.

So celebrate Dr. Seuss today

Let your hands and brains go play.