Our Experience with PTC, Lego and English - Grades K-11
We call ourselves the Zheshart English Lego Academy. We are frozen in Zheshart, Republic of Komi, Russia, or it seemed that way this winter. We use Lego to teach English. We make a big distinction between preschool and 5th Grade. The 5th Grade is a cutoff point. It also coincides with a change in public school teaching methods. Up to 5th grade students have one teacher for everything; afterwards they rotate from classroom to classroom to different teachers.
Finding #1 - Use Lego Duplo for K-4/5. Using regular Lego blocks is simply too time consuming. We have three levels of Lego English.
Lego English Levels – Preschool to 5th Grade
Lego Duplo English is designed for preschoolers to 5th Graders. Upper level students can continue with video story telling if interested. 5th Graders are encouraged to go into Lego Robotics or into Lego Architecture. These two Lego branches are much more time consuming and require much different instruction approaches. There are three levels of Lego Duplo English.
Level 1 No background. Introduction to alphabet, numbers 1-1000, colors, names of animals.
Level 2 Prerequisites: alphabet, numbers 1-1000, colors, names of animals. Introduction to various Lego Duplo sets. Approximately 500 nouns identifiable by sound and spelling.
Level 3 Story telling. Stories based on Lego constructions described in Russian and translated into English. Videos created. Conversation in complete sentences.
Procedure: This is Angelina’s creation – Angelina is a 3rd grader
Build a structure with Lego Duplo blocks.
Create a story and arrange blocks to show story as a series of PowerPoint slides.
Write out story in Russian.
Translate story to English.
Record story as mp4 file using Camtasia.
Eventually we would like Angelina to make the English recording. There are numerous opportunities to improve quality of video. Very large (> 20MB) file can be distributed by Dropbox links. Note that 3rd graders are learning to speak in complete sentences before having any formal English grammar.
We think this is a breakthrough.
Note that to this point we have not used any PTC products. At the 5th grade level, however, we start teaching PTC Creo and PTC Mathcad. We have 50+ K-5 students, but only 4 PTC students. Our objectives change at the 5th grade. Not only do we intend to teach English, we intend to teach robotics, architecture and 3D printing. We need a lot more adult support and equipment. Lego Robotics and Lego Architecture are expensive - kits ~$500 each. Furthermore we need more powerful computers with better graphics cards.
The biggest decision we are facing now is what to do about Lego Architecture. Is it well paired with PTC Creo Parametric Academic, or should we go with something like Autodesk Revit 2017?
Finding #2 - Working with regular Lego pieces (as opposed to Lego Duplo pieces) is VERY time consuming.