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The Unofficial Guide to Learning with Lego®: 100+ Inspiring Ideas (Lego Ideas) Paperback – July 1, 2016
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About the Author
Danielle Buckley - mominspiredlife.com
Danielle is a former teacher and stay-at-home mom of two active preschoolers. She enjoys sharing playful learning activities and neat ideas that keep her kids engaged and having fun!
Dayna Abraham - lemonlimeadventures.com
Dayna is a National Board Certified early childhood teacher turned homeschooling mom of three who's mission is to remain down to earth while providing ideas for intentional learning experiences ranging from science to sensory play.
Laura Marschel - lalymom.com
Laura is mom to two sweet redheads who fuel all the fun on her blog. She shares cool kids crafts, fun activities, free printables and parenting tips too! It's basically all about having fun!
Nicolette Roux - powerfulmothering.com
Nicolette is a stay at home mom to 4 little ones. She loves to share her simple and easy crafts & activities, printables and learning ideas on her blog!
Samantha Soper-Caetano - stirthewonder.com
Samantha is a stay-at-home mom to an active preschooler. She loves thinking of creative ways to engage her son in hands-on learning, including fine motor activities, sensory play, nature exploration, science experiments, and book-inspired ideas!
Sarah McClelland - littlebinsforlittlehands.com
Sarah is a stay-at-home mom of one busy boy. She enjoys incorporating important fine motor skills practice into a variety of hands-on learning activities that her son enjoys. Sarah's blog focuses on science, sensory, and STEM activities for learning and play.
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Top customer reviews
I use LEGO in the classroom almost every day. Schools and school districts hire my company to bring LEGO-based learning and play into their classrooms before, during, and after school. I'm always looking for new things to do, so when I saw this book, I hoped I could find something great in it. I was sorely disappointed.
I can summarize this book's projects into a few categories, which, unfortunately, the author didn't even do for us. That's right, my first major complaint about this book is that the author didn't organize the projects in this book at all. "Graphing by Color" is next to "Hidden Memory Game", which is next to "Bug Anatomy" which is next to "Learning Place Value". Why? Wouldn't it have made sense for the author to categorize the book's content, perhaps by grouping math related ideas together, science together, etc? Well, the author didn't do this. You literally need to go through it page by page hoping to find something applicable.
Which brings me to my second point, you won't find much. A majority of the books' content merely replaces pencils and paper and/or other manipulatives with LEGO. I'm all for using manipulatives in learning, but the projects in this book are nothing new. Instead of using counting bears or beads, this author is saying "use LEGO instead, be brilliant!" I'm sorry, the only brilliant thing here is that the author repackaged 100 year old projects pioneered by Maria Montessori with LEGO and said "pay me lots of money to buy my book".
Given the tight budget educators are on, what also baffles me is how this author recommends doing stuff with LEGO that destroys it. Hence my third huge complaint with this book: the author lazily takes the concept of LEGO as a modeling tool to the extreme by replacing other more appropriate materials with LEGO in projects that will destroy the LEGO. For instance, on the the book's cover she advertises an erupting volcano. Inside the book, she suggests you "build" a volcano and then douse your LEGO in baking soda and vinegar. What she doesn't go on the conclude is that you'll now need to throw away $20 worth of LEGO after a 10 second eruption and that $3 in play dough would've accomplished the same thing. Same goes for projects like "Slime" where you mix clear glue and starch, then throw LEGO pieces in it. (why?) Anyone who loves LEGO knows even to avoid getting it wet (wet LEGO is heaven for mold/mildew growth), which the author suggests in several places, include "Displacement Experiment". Other crazy projects the author suggests: using LEGO bricks to make stamps (by dumping LEGO in paint), baking LEGO parts into bath bombs, giving minifigures a bath in soap and water, rolling minifigure parts into clay, freezing minifures into ice cubes, several projects where you write on bricks with a permanent marker, and more. Just... no. No one in their right mind buys expensive LEGO to destroy it. If you agree with me on that point, you've just made 1/4 of this book useless to you.
My fourth major complaint is this book is terribly repetitive. The second of the "100+ projects" is "Writing Your Name with Bricks". Later on you'll find "Build the Alphabet" and in another 30ish pages in you'll find "Build Numbers", while towards the end a project kids build clocks (digital included) to practice telling time, which, you guessed it, uses numbers built of out LEGO. Four of the 100+ projects are basically the same thing. Yes, by now you should be rolling your eyes with me.
What is good in this book was already well-known by this LEGO educator. Building things like ZIP-Line vehicles and Balloon Powered cards, etc. But therein lies my next complaint: the author has some projects that are LEGO tried-and-true but does not explain to the teacher how to teach it. In the ZIP line project she says, "Use this LEGO zipline to learn about friction, gravity, planes, and inclines." How? I know the answer, because I'm a seasoned teacher, but there isn't much value in this explanation. You know where there is value? In the hundreds of free lesson plans online or in Pinterest that demonstrate zipline projects and explain the science of the inclined plane and its role as one of the six classical machines.
I was so annoyed when I sat down to read this book, but I'm not one to return something very often. So, I had the idea that I'd give it away to one of the classroom teachers I work with, thinking "maybe they'll find value in it." The first teacher I offered it to rejected it. "I bought that book and returned it. Its useless," he said. I agree. So I'm asking Amazon for a refund now too.
Look elsewhere for better books. Check out the Klutz press books for more learning and included LEGO. Check out some of the technical books on Mindstorms and LEGO engineering. If you really want what's in this book, still don't buy it. Go on Pinterest, anything good in this book is already on there. I can promise you that.
These hands-on projects are beautifully illustrated and there are detailed instructions with every activity. You TOO will have a blast with this book - I promise!