What skills does LEGO® building develop and what do we do at the lessons?
Technological progress is rapidly filling our lives. Now in Tallinn you can take a robot bus on Mere puiestee and send a parcel with a courier robot, and the rules of using robots and artificial intelligence are being developed in the European Parliament and the Riigikogu, so it is quite possible that the most daring assumptions of science fiction writers will soon become real!
Perhaps, the children who are now “playing” LEGO® with us, in the future will become specialists in high-tech industries and get professions related to machine learning or artificial intelligence, bio- and nanotechnology.
We create our programs according to the methodological recommendations of LEGO® Education solutions, which are aimed at developing STEAM competencies and skills.
STEAM is an approach in education, combining Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.
All these five disciplines are integrated into a learning scheme that helps the children make progress in several subject areas at once; they understand that boring theory has an applied character; get knowledge from various fields of technology, engineering and natural sciences.
The children learn, for example, what the worm gear is for and how drive-up and drive-down gears work (have you ridden the hill on a bicycle?), begin dealing with visual programming.
The children see how the laws of the exact sciences (which we explain easy and according to children’s age) work in practice. The pupils who study with us have fewer troubles during the lessons of mathematics, geometry, and physics. In our lessons we study the world around us, and sometimes the children learn who the praying mantis is or how to determine the strength of an earthquake on the Richter scale, why ecoducts are built and what kind of melody sounds annually on Mars – from our lessons.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to use earthquake information on a daily basis, but the skills to construct algorithms and process information, and developed spatial thinking gained in the lessons help children in everyday life: do the cleaning faster, arrange things more ergonomically, get home safer.
Classes of LEGO® building upgrade children’s imagination and logic: on the one hand, they imagine how the result will look like, and on the other hand, they follow a clear sequence of actions to achieve this result. We combine creativity and logic, we teach to bring a plan to the end: it is one thing to come up with a robot, and quite another is to create it sequentially, program it, and, if necessary, change it. Engineering art exists, and together we prove it.
Any art is unimaginable not only without practice, but also without perseverance. Of course, one wants to get the result immediately, skipping the boring stages of discussion and studying, but in the lessons we learn to understand that systematic work and thoughtfulness are important components of any project.
Many successful engineering projects are now being created in a team, and the children always work in pairs or in groups, developing soft skills: they learn to communicate with each other, create and present their projects together. Someone is stronger in design, someone is in programming; someone likes to follow the instructions punctually, and someone likes to create something of their own: when there is a team of different children, the projects created by such a team turn out to be very successful.
It is very important for iSmart Club to become an educational environment where the children can not only get basic knowledge about different fields of engineering and natural sciences, but also put this knowledge into practice.
Classes are held once a week from September to May in the office of iSmart Club in the city center of Tallinn. There are no more than 10 children in every group.