Legos help bring lessons to life at Salisbury Academy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 24, 2014

Salisbury Academy second-grade students recently studied a unit on the concepts of simple machines, using Lego Education Simple Machine Sets, bringing engineering concepts to life.
This innovative approach to education brings solutions into classrooms in order to transform the way that learning takes place. Previously taught through Smart Board activities and small experiments, the lesson is now enriched through a hands-on experience.
“It enhances what we are able to teach,” said second-grade assistant teacher Amy Goodnight. “Now rather than just experimenting with the simple machine, they are actually building the simple machine and experimenting with it. They are observing and investigating the concepts rather than just being told about them.”
“The hands-on nature of the lesson implants the concept in their mind better than a lecture would,” said second-grade teacher Mary Lou Williams. She added that this type of lesson is active and easily adaptable to multiple learning styles.
Goodnight noted this is a great way to teach engineering on a second-grade level. Students got the opportunity to build their own simple machines and test them, such as small race cars with single and double axles.
The kits feature multiple models that enable students to investigate and understand the operation of simple machines found in everyday life: gears, wheels and axles, levers and pulleys. Students learned about observing and investigating simple machines, following a design brief as part of the engineering design process, and investigating and working through observations, reasoning, predicting, reflecting and critical thinking.
“We got to build and have fun and learn,” said Moria Avery, second-grade student.
“It’s fun to see them discover,” said Goodnight.
Salisbury Academy’s Parents’ association purchased the Lego Education Simple Machine Sets for the second grade. “We’re thankful that our PSA recognizes and supports curricular needs in the classroom and are grateful for the opportunity,” said Williams.
At the end of the unit, students also had the opportunity to experience the concepts of engineering through the Discovery Place ScienceReach program, a museum on wheels. During this program, students got hands-on time with simple machines.