If you haven’t seen the LEGO movie yet I highly recommend you check it out and not just because there’s great effects and hilarious references for grown ups! It also has a great underlying message.

The premise is [SPOILER ALERT!!] that Lord Business wants all the Lego builders to follow the instructions so he can glue their perfect creations together permanently. The ‘Master Builders’, builders who use their imaginations instead, try to stop him. They mistakenly believe that Emmett, an ordinary builder, is a Master Builder and that he is ‘the Special’ or chosen one who will stop Lord Business from using his tool of mass destruction. As the plot reaches its climax, Emmett realizes that he CAN build using his imagination rather than instructions and that he is indeed ‘the Special.’

The LEGO® Movie – Official Main Trailer [HD]

This movie has had a lasting impact on my son. Frustrated by the tedious instructions for his Lego sets, he rarely played with them until after seeing this movie. Perhaps, with a little help from the movie’s hero, Emmett, he realized that he didn’t need to feel restricted by the instructions but rather could be free to use his imagination to create something original.

This message is ringing out loud and clear with the growth of the Maker Movement, Tinker time, and Genius Hours in our schools. Whatever you want to label it, it is hands on, student-directed learning and kids are learning a lot! I was really excited after last week’s class with Invent to Learn co-author and Maker movement proponent, Sylvia Martinez, to think about what offering this time could mean for students’ meaningful creating and learning in schools. I went searching for resources and found a lot of great stuff. Here are some of my finds…

Beyond Barbie – A great poster visual outlining different forms of play and how they could translate into ‘making’.

Flowchart by Anne Mayoral. Illustrations by Rob Nance.

This is a great jumping point where I found the following resources:

KidWind Project – windpower lessons complete with turbine and generator experiments

Siege Toys – Snap together desktop catapults and ballistas

Kinetic Creatures – Walking cardboard animal kits

Makedo-Construction tools for creative play

If that’s not enough to get you thinking there are a ton more on Jeremy Black’s blog post on Putting Maker Culture in the Classroom.

What I really like about the Maker movement is that it doesn’t necessarily require students (or their teachers;) to be computer savy or even tech savy in order to start.  I’m looking forward to bringing in some basic construction or craft materials and letting my students have at ‘er! We’ll add the technology pieces as we go.

The message is clear. Teachers, like Emmett, YOU are ‘the Special’. It starts with YOU. It is our job to ensure our students too hear that message–YOU are ‘the Special.’ Their imagination and motivation should be the only limits on their creativity and learning…not our fear or institutional restrictions. We can all be Master builders if only we Believe.
Maker tag crowd

Now to throw aside the instructions for our Kinex roller coaster, marble racer, Mouse Trap Game, TRIO blocks, and more…hmmm. What will we make today?

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Comments
  1. Candy says:

    Great connection between the lego movie and the maker movement. Thanks for sharing the resources

  2. kennanelson says:

    We are using LEGO as tool for learning in our classroom right now. This is a great blog connecting our last weeks class but it also invites us to extend the learning. You are taking something that our students naturally connect with and inviting them make it work successfully in their worlds. We find that we can lack certain pieces of technology (3D printers, etc) that can really bring to life these awesome ideas but I appreciate you starting with the basics:)

    • mybrainstorm says:

      Thanks Kenna. I don’t think we all need 3D printers to be on the cusp of the maker movement. I think high tech is secondary to having kids realize their ideas…if it’s connected to solving a problem and making a better ‘mousetrap’, that’s gravy:)
      Thanks for reading and happy building!

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