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IMAGE: Kindergarten students Simon (left), age 6, and Aiden (right), age 5, built a LEGO® WeDo™ airplane with a moving propeller in Mrs. Nancy Condit's class at Kent State University's Child Development Center.
Kindergarten students Simon (left), age 6, and Aiden (right), age 5, built a LEGO® WeDo™ airplane with a moving propeller in Mrs. Nancy Condit’s class at Kent State University’s Child Development Center.

Learning With LEGO®

College of Education, Health and Human Services
Knowing that young children are natural engineers, fascinated with how things work and with building and taking things apart, led the Research Center for Educational Technology (RCET) staff at Kent State University to adopt the LEGO® WeDo™ Robotics system to help promote elementary content standards for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning.

The project, funded by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation in Cleveland, helps support local K-5 grade teachers to design curriculum that utilizes the robotics system to introduce young children to the engineering design process. The WeDo set contains blocks, working motors and sensors, and a computer software program to run constructed models, which can range from dancing birds to a hungry alligator to a soccer goal kicker.

To date, four local schools have participated in the STEM learning project, including Kent State’s Child Development Center (Kindergarten), Akron Public Schools (4th and 5th grades), Kent City Schools (1st and 3rd grades) and Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools (1st grade).

“The outcome of this project will provide much-needed classroom-tested examples of how a variety of educational technologies can effectively create opportunities for deep learning of STEM content, and equally as important, how such tools can be used to build children’s capacity for using critical-thinking and problem-solving skills within the context of rigorous content,” said Annette Kratcoski, RCET’s educational researcher.

RCET will run a LEGO WeDo camp for children in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades from July 10-13. To learn more about this camp and other RCET camps for elementary students, such as digital storytelling, video production and game development, contact Mary Stith at 330-672-5995 or mstith@kent.edu.

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