Learning Through LEGOs

FIRST LEGO League @ the Smithsonian

In LEGO League, kids use LEGOs to design and build robots and solve challenges. Photo by D. Clow, on Flickr.

Guest post by Anne-Marie Hoxie, Director of Research, TASC

I recently visited JHS 185 in Queens where I was greeted by Hunter, an especially articulate and eager 8th grade student. Hunter and his friends introduced me to Lego League—a robotics project using LEGOs, computers and a lot of skill and imagination. Hunter and his friends come up with a concept that they “illustrate” using LEGOs and a programmed robotic device that interacts with the supplies to complete a task.

The kids who were in the room that day were excited by the challenge of LEGO League. They were focused on their concept’s design and making sure that their plans allowed them to execute their project from start to finish. They may not have realized it, but they were applying the lessons from their morning science class to a creative, challenging, and most importantly to Hunter, fun activity.

Last year, the group at JHS 185 placed 5th out of 180 schools in a citywide LEGO League competition, beat out only by the schools in Manhattan where, as Hunter put it, “doctors and lawyers send their kids.” This year, the kids plan to top that already impressive performance.

My money’s on Hunter and his friends.

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About Charissa Fernandez

Charissa is TASC’s Chief Operating Officer, so she basically has her hands in everything. And with more than a decade at TASC under her belt, she’s also our resident historian. She’s passionate about educational equity, budgets, the Bronx, grammar, document formatting, and board games. She has three young sons so she doesn’t have any spare time, but she tries to sneak in a few rounds of Boggle on her iPad on the train ride home.