Learn empathy using Lego (7-12 years)
In this article we share some of the KidooLand Secret Sauce .. activities that kids absolutely adore because we are entering into their world .. using equipment they want to be playing with ....first up is LEGO!
Read on to find out how we used this famous toy to teach children empathy . How children then learn about blind people, the struggle of colour blindness and the challenges for the partially sighted ..
This is just one of the thousands of activities we have done with our lucky KidooKids as part of their English language lessons .. yes you read that right .. we are "just " teaching English but we LOVE to take language learning to a deeper level.
Here are two activities we have done with a group of primary and younger college children age 7-12 years old.
The first group was an all boy group.. which sometimes can be high energy and requires careful planning .. oh and a lot of lego :-)
We set up the classroom so we could have two teams of children with a large screen separating the teams so that they couldn’t see each other. We used a table but you could just as easily do this on the floor.
Group 1 took a selection of Lego pieces.
They were given simple instructions to build a vehicle that could fly , with a secret entrance . With other groups you can choose other objects to create based on their interests.
Their mission (and they did choose to accept it) was to build and communicate the process to the other remote team.
eg Take a grey brick that is 2x3 . Secure this directly on top of a green 2x2 brick.
After 5 minutes ... we moved the screen and there was a lot of laughing. It's really hard !
So then we showed them this video below..
EXACT instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jam (jelly) sandwich)
Again LOTS of laughter.
The point was made however that communication needs to be very clear to avoid confusion.
This video by the way is also one I have shown to my own team members to help them understand how important clarity is when working even between adults .. If you are a manager .. do share it with your team .. you can thank me later lol !
Then we went back to the lego activity.
Switching roles on which team was to build first ... now it was up for Group 2 , fully informed on how NOT to go about the task they got communicating and of course group 1 now knew their role in the game, this time really listening.
After 20 minutes , upon completion of the structure we removed the screen and compared models.
More laughter but also a lightbulb moment and that feeling of success - we realised that actually they had done an excellent job at speaking and also listening.
WHAT DOES THIS TEACH?
Well firstly it teaches us that being able to see is a very useful sense to have. That if someone can’t see, we need to be ever so clear on the words we use and the order we do things to ensure they fully understand.
That we also need to listen.
TAKING IT DEEPER
Our role as teachers is then to generate an open discussion about the world around us, people in the world who may actually have these issues day to day.
Empathy- Being able to understand and appreciate, share the thoughts and feelings of others.
Establishing and building relationships and being able to demonstrate compassion are crucial life skills.
Being able to “walk in the shoes” of others and understand their point of view as well as your own is essential for social interaction.
GIVING THEM WINGS TO SOAR AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE
We took this a step further with a mixed group during the summer AdoLand programme . Having done the above activity in class we then went on an actual visit to see the Guide Dogs for the Blind in Biot. FACEBOOK LINK
We got to meet the different dogs, understand about the training process the dogs go through and participate in little activities where we were blindfolded or wore funny glasses to partially obscure our sight or change the colour of what we saw and while impaired had to do tasks and an obstacle course using a walking stick and of course learning trust by letting a dog guide us.
Perhaps it’s a little ironic to say this really opened our eyes as to how challenging it is to be without one of the essential senses and how one has to give up, into the trust of others when one is already vulnerable.
Post visit, during our end of day group debrief, it was really moving to hear what an impact this visit had on our teens.
They were so inspired that they the went on to raise money for an animal centre and took some time to write their thanks to this centre and about their experience.
I truly hope this empathy experience stays with them forever.
PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION - JOIN US TO MAKE THE CHANGE
It's been said that the KidooLand teachers have magic wands .. they certainly have very creative brains . We could keep all these activities to ourselves but want to share them out because we feel that these activities need to be in every classroom around the world.
Join us in changing education and the way children learn.
Share your ideas with us on how we can use a simple toy like a lego to help children discover the world, learn about compassion, about teamwork and for our little French students acquire more English .
Together we can make a difference.
Progressive education and interactive methods like we use to engage our students at KidooLand are the way forward.
Let's make learning fun.