By DAVID LOPEZ
Children want to play, and teachers want children to learn. Fortunately, the Children’s Museum of Brownsville was able to provide an opportunity combining both practices to create a fruitful experience for the elementary students of SBCISD.
Titled the LEGO Mini-Makers Studio Engineering activity, the project asked each student to build a car using Legos and test their car’s speed with ramps. The instructional focus is on redesigning and rebuilding.
Amy Tygrett, Education and Experience Manager of the Children’s Museum of Brownsville, said the Museum has been presenting this activity to Brownsville ISD for six years.
This year, the Museum received a grant from the Moody Foundation, allowing them to expand their presentation to surrounding districts, including San Benito CISD, Los Fresnos CISD, Point Isabel ISD, and Harlingen CISD.
Only first and fifth-grade students are invited to participate.
“The reason we only host first and fifth graders is because there is a big growth leap from when they first do it in first grade to fifth grade,” said Tygrett.
“For first grade, we have them build a strong foundation, test the ramp, and see how far their car goes, then ask them to modify it. And then, in the fifth grade, we go into a lot more conversation about hypotheses and the scientific method. We even ask them to draw a blueprint of their car.”
After students build an adequate base for their car, they have the chance to improve their car with colorful legos and measure how far it goes in front of the ramp.
According to their website, the Children’s Museum of Brownsville is a non-profit organization that aims to “introduce children to the ‘World of Learning’ through hands-on creative and interactive exhibits, workshops, and special events.”
“Unfortunately in our schools, we have a lot of that taken away from us because of standardized testing, so this allows them to experience more of a project-based form of learning,” said Tygrett. “Many children have never played with LEGOS, so just introducing them to the world of LEGOS can be really awesome.”
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the Feb. 28 – March. 5, 2020 issue of the NEWS.