10 Jun 2018

Building and Discovery in the Library

Anyone who has visited our library in the past few weeks has noticed a buzz of excitement. Students are engaged in creating giant structures, feats of engineering and works of art. Our libraries are fortunate to have received a generous parent donation to purchase Keva Planks and Lego Education materials. Our goal is to offer students opportunities to play, create, experiment, tell stories and work collaboratively.

Research has shown (University of Idaho and others) the importance of providing children with time to investigate with building blocks. Children who learn and play with blocks are more successful in mathematics and science. Physically handling the blocks builds a foundational understanding of quantities, equality, geometry and many other concepts.

According to the Keva Planks designers, "In a room full of children and KEVA® Planks, attention spans lengthen, concentration intensifies, creativity is focused, voices are muted, teamwork happens, excitement builds, projects flow, and children yearn to learn."

The quantity, 1,600 Keva planks in the ES Library, allows students to build large, collaborative structures, as well as smaller, interconnected designs. The blocks are all the same size and are quick and easy to clean up, reset and start all over again. Students are excited to build together and to add on the work of their classmates. They are inspired and challenged by each other's ideas. Some students build up as tall as they can, while others build out and create stories or pictures.

Students are also delighted with the new Lego kits in the ES Library. We have a Tubes Experiment set which allows students to build tunnels and slides. We have a STEAM Park set, which includes gears, levers, pulleys and even and air cannon. We also have a set of Story Scenes which offer backdrops to set the stage for students to build and act out their own stories. Lego Education products support the philosophy that "twenty-first century learning is about providing children with opportunities to experiment with their surroundings as a form of problem solving. It is about creativity and collaboration, motivation and self-direction. It is about improvisation and discovery, and interacting with meaningful tools that expand mental capacities."

We are also thrilled with the installation of our new Lego tables and Lego walls in the libraries. In the ES Library ground floor, we have a round Duplo table and two mobile Lego walls on easels. Upstairs, we have a standing Lego table with smaller bricks and large Lego wall. In our Middle High School Library, we also have two mobile Lego tables. We can't wait to see what our students will build and create with these exciting materials.

As a result of this generous ASD family donation, and in addition to Lego materials and Lego tables, the ASD ES and MS/HS Libraries are introducing custom portable staging spaces to engage students performance, communication, and collaboration activities across a variety of disciplines. The libraries have also introduced a new database, Newslea for students in Grades 3-12.

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