CASSTOWN — Pop quiz. How do you get elementary students to stay after school to continue learning on a Friday afternoon? Answer: Just add LEGO.
The Miami East Elementary School added a LEGO Club to its list of extra-curricular activities this school year. The club meets each Friday where students spend the hour building and problem solving well after the school bell has dismissed class for the week.
Chris Weddle, the school’s music teacher, and his wife Laura, a Title I teacher, started the club in Novemberto build upon their own children’s love of LEGO at home.
Approximately 53 students in third through fifth grade participate in the after-school program and the students alternate bi-weekly with third grade club and a fourth and fifth grade club.
“We just thought kids need somewhere they can build and be creative and work together out of their own habitat of school,” said Weddle on Friday. “It’s interesting the different kids we have in here. They work together and get along. It’s great.”
Each week, the students have a new challenge to complete in groups by the end of the hour. Last Friday’s challenge was to build a bridge to hold the weight of a LEGO car with a baseball in it without collapsing.
Weddle finds the weekly challenge in books and even creates challenges for the club to enjoy.
Fifth grader Noah Martin, 10, was building a bridge for the weekly challenge with Jacob Riley.
“My favorite thing about LEGO Club is that you are free to use your imagination and create what you are asked to or whatever you want,” Martin shared.
Fifth grader Jacob Riley, 10, said his favorite part of LEGO Club was, “just trying to beat the goals and do what you need to do.”
“I really like architecture and in this challenge you need a lot of specific blocks to hold the weight of the car,” Riley shared.
Fifth grade teacher Steve Kirby assisted with the club activities last week.
“Last week we had third graders do the challenge and this week the fourth and fifth graders. They each have different ideas as far as how to get the task done,” Kirby shared. “It’s been interesting to see how they all come up with different ideas on how to accomplish their task.”
Devan Nix, 10, was digging through a box of LEGO bricks to make more supports to hold the weight of the car with his group.
“I like doing the group work with my friends and trying to win the challenges,” Nix shared.
Lane Speck, 11, shared how he builds LEGO at home every day.
“I have LEGOs at my house and I build every day,” Speck said. “I liked the free build. You had to use as many LEGOs as you could as fast as you can.”
Haley Barnes, a fourth grader, said she likes the creative aspect of the LEGO challenges.
“My favorite challenge was when Emmet (a LEGO character) was trapped in a trash can a.k.a. a canyon and we had to build a contraption to get him out,” Barnes shared. “We built a pulley deal out of LEGO to get him out.”
“We had to restart the bridge because it kept falling apart, but I like building and being creative,” said fourth grader Lacie Henry.
The club is supported by the Miami East Elementary’s Principal Fund. For more information, visit www.miamieast.k12.oh.us.