GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Colored interlocking plastic bricks are being used in Guilford County elementary school classrooms to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM.
Those blocks teachers and students are using are Legos.
Megan Coble uses them to teach her fourth graders at Morehead Elementary School about force and momentum.
“I think my favorite part about the class is building the things because I really enjoyed building Legos,” said Ben Adachi, a fourth grader at Morehead Elementary School.
When FOX8 stopped in Coble’s class the kids used the bricks to build bobsleds and test them on a track.
“If I say momentum, they will write it down and most will comply and do it, but they don’t necessarily know what that means. But seeing that in action, I guess makes it more real to them,” Coble said.
And easier to understand the tough topics.
“I actually learned momentum is just like how much force you can push and I thought that momentum you just had to go on a really steep hill to get a lot of momentum,” Ben said.
This new way of learning is part of a partnership between Lego Education and Guilford County Schools.
“I do a lot of stem stuff in my classroom, but usually I have to purchase the materials, and this is much better. The lessons are pretty much laid out for us and I get to put my own spin on it. But to me, a lot of the legwork is done and the materials are high-quality,” Coble said.
Children in kindergarten through fourth grade at every Guilford County school received a Lego engineering kit at the beginning of the year.
“As the director of STEM, this is something I’ve always wanted to put in the hands of our students. They can build apps, they can learn how the basics of coding using block coding and again integrating it into their core curriculum,” said Faith Freeman, director of STEM at Guilford County Schools.
Teachers are also learning to integrate other lessons into this hands-on opportunity.
“We’ve already studied the metric system so I’m gonna have them study the distance centimeters and then they’re going to do some conversion and adding. So, not only is it science and cooperative learning and engineering but it’s also easy to integrate into other things,” Coble said.
As the children are challenged to figure out why things have different speeds, teachers are having their minds stimulated too.
“It’s a good jumping-off point to integrate more things,” Cobles said.
The Guilford County school district used $500,000 in federal funds to purchase the Lego kits.