About a year ago, Lego Education announced a partnership with NASA. The goal of the collaboration, called Bricks in Space, was to produce an educational program to help kids learn about space and other STEM related topics through the use of Lego bricks. The response was very positive because, honestly, what kid doesn’t want to build with Lego while learning about space?
Since its inception, the program has generated a series of videos explaining life on the International Space Station. Astronauts show where they sleep, work, and explain other components of the ISS. In the meantime, NASA helped Lego Education with the first major challenge, getting a number of Lego kits to the orbiting labratory, and from there it was only a matter of finding time in the schedule to begin teaching kids about simple machines and how they work in microgravity.
The Bricks in Space program plans on releasing a new activity every three weeks. Schools have the opportunity to purchase the same kits on the ISS and build and participate alongside the astronauts. Lego Education is also supplying student worksheets and teacher noted to help develop lesson plans around these experiments. What’s more, Lego has also developed a teacher’s guide to that is packed with activites, discussion topics, and books for further reading and exploration.
The first activity, a trundle wheel used to measure distances, was recently posted to the Lego Space site. On the accompanying video, Japanese astronaut, Satoshi Furukawa, walks students through the differences between conditions on the ISS & Earth and used the scientific method to determine if the trundle wheel was as acurate in space as it was in classrooms at home. Future activities include a beam balance, fishing rod, windmill, and more, all included in the Simple and Motorized Mechanisms Base Set.
If you’re a teacher in a public, private, or home school, you’re welcome to join the Lego Space program. Educators can sign up for program updates, fully participate in the Bricks in Space program or just watch the activities on the program Web site; but don’t miss out on this great opportunity!
Disclosure: Lego Education sent GeekDad a sample of one of the kits used in this program.