Time: 1 one-hour class period
Description: In this activity, students will be introduced to engineering and partner building.
Students will work with a partner to build a design of their choice, but must cooperate,
discuss, and compromise as part of the challenge.
- Introduce engineering and what an engineer does
- Assist students in their ability to work with others
- For students to learn how to plan, share, and discuss ideas for building a simple
- 20 LEGO pieces in a small plastic bag (one for each pair)
- Optional - What Do Engineers Do book (available at Tufts CEEO)
- Optional - books about sharing and taking turns (Dandelion Warriors or It's Mine
by Leo Lionni
For the extensions
Preparation and Setup:
- Extension LEGO kits (10 pieces in a bag for each student)
- Mystery number of LEGO pieces in a bag for students to count and name
- Mystery pieces students must identify by feel
Teacher Background: To properly refer to LEGO bricks, plates and beams of different sizes count the number
- Arrange students in pairs
- Distribute LEGO kits
- Distribute 'Engineer's Planning Worksheets'
of bumps on top of the brick/plate/beam widthwise by lengthwise. A 1 x 4 beam is
1 ridge wide and 4 ridges long. A 2 X 8 brick is 2 bumps wide and 8 bumps long.
- Introduce what engineering is and what engineers do, you may want to use
picture representations, books, or examples.
- Introduce to the class that they will be exploring engineering through LEGOs
- Talk about the importance of teamwork, sharing and cooperation in engineering
and discuss how students might work together by planning, compromising and
- Introduce the pieces students will be using in this activity (brick, beam, and plate)
and how to name each one and each size (e.g. 2 X 4 Brick).
- You may want to create a worksheet to enforce the naming system.
- Introduce the challenge -- Tell students that they must use their bag of 20 LEGO
pieces to build a structure with their partner. Before you distribute LEGOs , have
students plan using their Engineer's Planning Worksheet (attached to activity).
- When students have finished, come together as a class. Let each student share
their design, one thing they like about it and one problem they had. Ask students
how they worked cooperatively with their partners.
This activity meets the Massachusetts Frameworks Learning Standards for
Technology and Engineering
Grades K - 2
1.3 Identify and describe the safe and proper use of tools and materials to construct
- Give each student 10 identical pieces. In pairs, have one student build a structure
and the other student copy the structure with his or her pieces.
- Give students a bag with a mystery number of pieces and have them count and
name the pieces.
- Place a piece in a paper bag, box, or something else where the students can't see
the piece. Have them take turns guessing what piece is inside by feeling it.
If students are having trouble working together, role model and discuss the following
situations with another adult:
- grabbing pieces
- Working on separate projects without communicating
Engineering Planning Sheet
Student Presentations of designs