Newbie Getting Started

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Joel Birch 4 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #12031
     Joel Birch 
    Participant

    Hello Serious Players!

    I’m doing all manner of work with K-12 education in Australia, working my way towards stepping in to some formal training, but I want to dabble with some of the techniques outlined in the Open Source document before I dive in formally.

    If I wanted to buy some general purpose bricks to get myself started before making the big investment in LSP-specific gear, would the Large Creative Bricks Box (10698) do the job for a group of 10-ish? Is there anything crucial (or super helpful) as a starting point that I should add to it?

    #12032
     Ed Chester 
    Participant

    Hi Joel – 10698 is a great starting point. There’s nothing ‘crucial’ at the start that would get in the way. I’d suggest you need a few wheels (and I seem to remember this has some), and some larger plates (bigger than 8×8). I think there are 12×4 and 8×6 in this box. I’d consider getting a few (1 per person) identical larger plates directly from the pick-a-brick service.

    You don’t need many bricks per person, but diversity of bricks is important. The window exploration bags are great but if you don’t imagine ever needing so many they are an outlay. Could you share a box of exploration bags with someone?

    You will accumulate a box of ‘enough’ mixed up parts to support a group workshop pretty quickly, and can improve the mix as you go do more workshops. The only other thing I’d say is to try to avoid bringing in parts from ‘designed kits’ which tend to have smaller and more specialised parts. In LSP – nobody ever wants a 1×1 plate. Nobody wants tiles, tiny transulent parts, axle pins, or funky curved wheel arches. Don’t add anything in that slows people down due to fiddliness :) Good luck, and don’t worry too much about the parts: asking the right questions is the bigger deal.

    #12034
     Joy Sasser 
    Participant

    Joel- I am a newbie also. I just got back from Tanzania working in a school to help develop critical thinking skills using LEGO, literature, and logic games. I am not a LSP facilitator, but I used many of the concepts to organize and adapt the concepts for what I needed. I used a few of the 10698 general sets plus a few other other general build sets. As Ed suggested, I also ordered extra wheels and base plates. I then divided, fairly equally, all the sets and pieces into 6 cases that had dividers (from the hardware store) and one extra case for extras and oddball pieces. These cases served 2-5 kids each which made it easier to divide up the classes.

    Many of the kids and most of the teachers had never built with LEGOs (or anything like it) so our starting place was a few steps behind. I wanted them to first get used to putting the bricks together and to get a feel for what they could do with them. So, we started out by letting them pick through build instructions for animals from the book, Build It! Volume 1. We encourage them to change the instruction and adapt them however they wanted or needed to based on the pieces they had. My 12 year old son helped facilitate this as we worked with a group of ten 7th graders. After an hour of the 7th graders getting to build, they and my son then went to the 6th grade class (30 students) to do the same build. They repeated this with the 3rd-5th grade classes. Meanwhile, I worked the same build with the teachers with the added element that they were to pick an animal to build that they could then give three words that described themselves using that animal. Even with build instruction some really struggled putting the pieces together and following the instructions, while others were able to worked through the steps a figure it out. Although using build instructions would not be part of the LSP model, it was our starting point. The teachers enjoyed this and commented that they really needed and wanted more time to “play” with the LEGOs as they were just starting to see how it worked when we needed to move on. I would have followed up with more “free build” LSP type games but I only had so many LEGO cases and the kids needed them back. The kids groups did do more free build exercises during that week including creating a car that could then be powered by a balloon and figuring out what worked and didn’t work and adjusting their design. Now this is where I would differ from Ed, the kids loved adding in translucent pieces and arches to the designs in their cars. In fact, many used the arches to hold the balloon in place.

    There are many things from LSP that can be carried over to the classroom and I just touched the surface of considering how to do that. The new LSP book helped me organize my thoughts so that even if it felt a bit chaotic there was a purpose and a goal behind each element of what we did.

    #12035
     Stephen Dann 
    Participant

    Joel

    I’ve used a mix of creativity kits for story telling exercises – like the :Select six bricks, any six bricks, now build a model of the world’s best [animal] just using those bricks.

    Kits I’ve got in my mix
    * Creative Builder – Windows and Doors make for good insta-metaphors, and they’re loved by the participants.
    * * Creative Supplement – this kit has the wonderful 90 degree angle adapters that help make unexpected shapesto encourage non-linear building
    * Get a set with axles, wheels and gears, so people can make models with movement. Those help. BigW/Kmart has a few decent kits there. Also consider Mission to Mars as the box to buy for the storage of the pieces, or check if Toyworld has the big red storage bricks because they make a useful first impression of the kit, and set the tone.

    I second getting the 16×16 baseplates from the pick-a-brick. I’ve got about 20, and I have 20 of the little 2×2 flat plates that I use as labels on those plates (A1, A2, B1, B2) for participants to be able to track their models. You may also find it useful to get a 8×8 plates for as many participants as you expect to have, since you can use the restriction of the space to encourage the use of the micro-bricks and micro-builds for story making. In contrast to Ed, I’ve had a few people ask for 1×1 pieces over time (and 1×1 round are wonderful pivots). The Classics use a lot more smaller pieces, so you either embrace them or filter them out.

    So with an 8×8 for the first build (individual), a 16*16 for a team build plate, and a single Classic baseplate, you could replicate the landscape kit at a much smaller level, if you’re game. Or goit 16*16 to start, then onto a classic.

    Also, pity you’re a sandgroper (said the bananabender), because I’m not headed to your side of the island until next year, else I could bring over a few kits for you to have a look through for parts and piece ideas.

    #12053
     Joel Birch 
    Participant

    Thanks so much all! This has been super helpful. I’m raiding my old childhood collection to fill any crucial gaps.

    Ed: I’m really just starting to push the boat out, so I’m trying to be a bit general-purpose about my bricks for now before purchasing some dedicated LSP gear and some kit to manage it. Good advice about the base plates – I’ll take it for a spin.

    Joy: These sound like some good ideas to actually try face to face with kids. My main entry point is with school and curriculum leaders to try to get them thinking in systems – playful needs to come second for them unfortunately!

    Stephen: That gives me heaps to think about – cheers! I’ll have a dig through what I’ve already got and what I need to add to the collection. If you’ve got your gear with you when you head west, I’d love to have a nose through it – lunch is on me!

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