Visiting Researcher at the University of Auckland
In the Summer of 2019 I spent 5 weeks in New Zealand as a visiting researcher at the University of Auckland. The goal of my trip was to learn more about the New Zealand Education system, work with the University of Auckland Engineering and Robotics department on outreach opportunities and new pedagogical approaches, and coordinate a LEGO Engineering Conference for local teachers.
While I was there, I spent a week as a visiting teacher at the Te Matauranga primary school. Te Matauranga is a Decile 1 school (meaning it recieves the most amount of government funding) situated in Clendon, Manurewa. Many of the teachers were already using LEGO Robotics in their classrooms, and it was exciting to learn from how they incorporate LEGO into their curriculum.
I also spent a few days in Australia running LEGO Robotics workshops for teachers and students. The picture to the left shows 100+ students in Orange, Australia competing with LEGO EV3 Robots to see who could capture the most candy (or Lollies as they referred to them).
Col·legi Montserrat is an amazing school located in Barcelona with a strong commitment to hands on learning. I was fortunate to spend two weeks at Col·legi Montserrat collaborating with teachers and students to explore different hands on engineering challenges using a variety of different materials. Using conductive paint, foam plates, and LEDs, students made their own operation games. We also challenged older students to use these materials to design educational matching games that the preschool students could play. Using LEGO EV3 students designed paper airplane launchers, and with found materials 2nd grade students built ping pong ball catapults.
StoryGames was a competition LEGO Education and the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) created as a way to integrate literacy and engineering. LEGO Education and the CEEO were both interested in exploring how the LEGO StoryStarter sets could be leveraged to get students learning about STEM concepts by telling stories.
After working with LEGO Education to develop the competition, myself and a post-doctoral student from the CEEO traveled to Shanghai, China to judge the competition and visit schools to learn about how they use LEGOs in their classrooms.
Check out this blog post about our trip and the development of StoryGames.