Lego and Social Justice

This is an example of a task that used Lego to solve problems related to Area and Perimeter and addressed Social Justice issues as well.  This task asked students to work as a Community Planner to create and design a community using Lego and then to adapt their design when provided with less space to meet the needs of the residents in their community.

First, students were asked to analyze Google Map images of the communities in which they live and to make a list of criteria as a large group of items that a community should have.  Using a task card with this criteria outlined and specific math outcomes (area parameters for specific buildings or items), the students worked with a partner to create a Lego community design that would house 500 people on a 24×24 baseplate.  Once they finished this design, they were to translate it onto a 24×24 grid paper to show dimensions and to perform calculations to satisfy the math outcomes of the task.

Once the first portion of the task was complete, students were gathered in a large group to look at images of where children live around the world.  Using the following website, students were challenged to compare their communities with what they saw on the screen.

http://jamesmollison.com/books/where-children-sleep/

Students also looked at images of skylines from some of the largest cities in the world and used this to make conclusions about how other cities might meet the needs of their citizens with less space/materials/resources.

Students were given a 16×16 baseplate and asked to meet the needs of the same number of citizens.  Students immediately collaborated with other groups to maximize the use of space.  As well, they made alterations to their buildings by ‘building up’ and reducing urban sprawl.

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Curriculum Connections:  This task, when modified, can have possible connections to many areas of the Alberta Program of Studies.  For example:

K-9 Mathematics Program of Studies:

Communication [C] Connections [CN] Problem Solving [PS] Reasoning [R] Visualization [V]

  • Math – Measurement – Grades 4, 5 and 6

K-6 Social Studies Program of Studies:

  • Engage in problem solving and conflict resolution with an awareness of the ethical consequences of decision making
  • Engage in active inquiry and critical and creative thinking
  • Recognize and responsibly address injustices as they occur in their schools, communities, Canada and the world
  • Grade 3 – Connecting with the World – 3.1 Communities in the World,  3.2 Global Citizenship