What child hasn’t enjoyed building things with LEGOs? There are so many things children can learn from LEGOs — and not just young children. This free 47-page LEGO Travel Adventure unit study from the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis is geared for students K–2 and 6–8, but adaptable for all ages in between.

Throughout history, inventors and explorers have been inspired by distant places and the idea of creating vehicles that can transport people on new adventures. Using the idea of travel as a theme, this unit of study enables students to plan an adventure that encourages them to think geographically and apply physical science concepts as they work cooperatively to build and test transportation models.

The unit contains three lessons — adventures on land, on water, and in the air — and a culminating experience, along with suggested resources.

The unit relies on exploration, discovery, and a rich learning environment as the path to learning. Sound familiar? To that end each lesson contains the following elements:

  • Provocation for discussion. Inspiration that encourages a student to explore, ask questions, and provide direction for the teacher in facilitating learning.
  • Discussion and application. Form a hypothesis and test it.
  • Vocabulary. The suggestions are to be integrated into the lesson by the teacher to meet the needs of his particular students.
  • Documentation. Students create an output — project, product, display, etc.
  • Concluding conversations. Opportunities for narrations, explanations, and extensions.

The unit focuses on the disciples of science, social studies, and language arts. During the unit, the student will:

  • Examine the role of inventors and inventions in helping people travel in different environments such as land, water, and air.
  • Use physical maps to identify land and water features.
  • Identify the types of vehicles needed to travel on different terrains and in different environments.
  • Experiment with forces that cause an object to move.
  • Test different inventions, such as wheels and skids, to explain how they help an object move over different surfaces.
  • Explore the factors that cause objects made of different materials to sink or float.
  • Try out different ways of moving and steering an object on or through the water.
  • Give examples demonstrating that air is matter.
  • Explain how push and pull forces affect different materials as they move through the air.
  • Plan a travel adventure and create maps to destinations.
  • Build and test a LEGO® vehicle or vehicles for a travel adventure and report on the results.

The objectives are clearly stated for each lesson along with the materials that will be needed for each activity. You’ll also find helpful rubrics, specific lesson instructions, helps for modifying the lesson for various age levels, literature connections, Internet links, resource list for students and teachers, and many extension ideas. There is even a helpful glossary at the end.

LEGO Travel Adventure is a beautifully designed, quality unit that will make learning effective and fun. And it’s free!

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