Each year, every 3rd grader in District 97 experiences the Geared Up LEGO engineering program – even kids in Claire Bartell’s Spanish immersion classroom at Lincoln. Working in teams of two, Ms. Bartell’s students engineered the simple machines with LEGO motorized mechanisms, testing what happened when they changed variables and learning first-hand about friction, mass, moving energy and efficiency. And they did all this learning in Spanish! They learned scientific principles, the power of effective teamwork, AND new Spanish vocabulary words!
Here’s what Ms. Bartell described the experience:
“We LOVE the Geared Up program over here at Lincoln… The LEGOs are obviously fun for the kids, but additionally the machines they construct really made the science connection very clear. They also give the kids the chance to work with the scientific process by manipulating one variable at a time and then recording their findings. I also found the use of vocabulary in the workbooks to be great for the kids. They heard and read scientific language that they were able to connect to their real-world experiences and use it in a new way.
For me, I think the best part of this unit of study is seeing kids shine who may not have strong language skills but are able to demonstrate their scientific understanding physically with the LEGO kits! It shows all of the kids that there are many ways to demonstrate intelligence, many ways to learn, and that we can all be leaders for the class in different ways!