In 2014 my students collaboratively built a lego mural out of a series of portraits in honor of Black History Month. I have apost about it here. I even put a post together explaining how I organized it and created the resources here.
I have a plan to try another Black History Lego Mural again this year. I really like the format I created where each portrait fits on 6 base plates. This mean I can have an entire class work on one portrait (one part per table). They can see how their small group collaboration feeds into a all class collaboration as the base plates are finished and pieced together. The lesson is not about creativity since they just follow a printed 1:1 scale guide, however it does require patience, collaborative strategies, counting, reading a grid, accuracy, and some problem-solving when lego pieces/sizes become scarce.
New Plan: Emphasizes History
The first time I designed the lego wall project I was scrambling, guessing, and making quick decisions to fit my time constraints. Now that I know that we have enough legos, and what my students capable of (2nd-5th graders do this lesson well) I am going to try to make sure the HISTORY part is emphasized as much as the art making. This new plan will include abolitionists, civil rights activists, a mathematician, and a scientist. Students will watch a video biography for each of the 6 figures from black history to learn more about their contributions and the challenges they faced in their lives.
Resources: Download from TpT
I packaged the resources for two of the murals above. You can download them with instructions, examples, and printable lego guide sheets. MLKJr and Harriet Tubman
A few times a year, NextVista.org hosts student video contests. These videos teach something learned in school, are 90 seconds (+ credits) long, and fit in one of three categories: student, collaboration, or teacher created. They are screened by a panel of judges and posted to the site. Those that score the highest points are posted as finalists. Winners are awarded after the finalists are viewed by teachers and students around the globe. We entered 4 movies this time into the contest and 2 of them were selected as finalists in two different categories. Click on the movie titles below to see them.
Soaring Creativity: Teacher Category
Soaring Creativity: Collaboration Category
We entered a tutorial explaining the 2nd grade rotational symmetry lego design project in the teacher category. View it below and visit my post to learn more about this project.
We entered a shortened version (to meet requirements) of "How to be Kind" in the collaboration category. View the full version below and visit the post to find out how Dryden's youngest animators created the beating heart effect over their still images.
There were 2 other videos entered during this contest that were not chosen as finalists.
Deep Space (the remake) was given an Honorable Mention. View thefirst version here and learn about animated aliens to play instruments, beatbox, dance, and sing here.
How to Stay Neat was also a remake by the 2nd graders of 2015-2016 school year. It was entered in the summer contest but since they had no other collaboration entries it was put into the current contest where it didn't score as high as the other entries. View the first version here and the remake below.
Here are thescoring guidelines that the judges use for the videos. Try going back to each category (Teacher, Student, Collaboration) and score the movies so you can guess who might win. There are "bonus points" for turning the movie in early and following the directions when the movie is turned in, so your score may be a few points off because of this unknown factors.
Using the DoInk Animation app to digitally rotate the lego designs not only extends the lesson digitally, it serves as an assessment to determine if the designs are rotationally symmetrical.
Students can add their own photo over the rotating design using a size change to indicate falling. The 2nd tutorial below shows the steps for creating this project. It would also help you just rotate the masked lego design (like above) if you skip adding the figure.
View my interview with Corey Engstrom of Teacher Tech Trials about this project below.
Our Rotational Symmetry Lego Wall
-made completely by second graders using our collaborative method of taking a turn
Made physically & assessed digitally
After students made their lego plates, they used a digital image of it to do a test for rotational symmetry. They masked it into a circle using the Superimpose app then put it in the Do Ink animation app to make it rotate. See the video below to view the process and their results.
This is the movie made from students' digital animations of their lego plates.
View the finished movie, Allow us to Illustrate here or below.
1. When I imported my photo into the Photobricks app I needed to know the size plates I have available (10"x 10") and how many bricks that is (32 x 32 bricks). I planned for an image that would be two plates by three plates (6 total plates) so my image had to be set for 64 x 96 bricks. This app makes a 1 brick to 1 brick photo to work from.
2. I needed to inventory the colors we had left and try to limit the color palette to just those choices. This took tons of trial and error to find a combination that still produced an image that resembled the original.
3. I uploaded the photo to blockposters.com. I chose a format that would be two sheets wide. This meant that one sheet would print the same width as my plate (32 bricks). I trimmed each piece to 32 bricks in length as well. I stapled the trimmed sheets to a piece of cardboard and labeled it so students could understand which tile in the overall design they were working on.
4. Now I set up one tile per table with trays of the color bricks each piece needs. This goes pretty quickly when each student takes a corner of the plate, counts, and places each piece. No estimating allowed. Students must be precise to make the mural work.
HINT: This can go fast if everyone helps. If they start guessing instead of counting, this will take ---forever---because they will have to redo and fix their mistakes.
See my previous post for video, resources, my Lego Wall Grant, the School Arts Article, and more images for our Black History Lego Wall. Click here to see our Rotational Symmetry Lego Wall Challenge from 2013.
We are the 2nd place winner of the ISTE Technology in Action Video Contest.
See my post for more info.
View our Entry for the What's Your Story
Internet Safety Contest
(Won the 2nd Place Prize)
View this musical tribute to the hard working teachers at Dryden and the students they love to teach.
Tricia Fuglestad, NBCT,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.