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How to Measure Resilience with Lego

My school has recently bought numerous Lego robotics sets for the kids to build mini robots with. It’s fabulous! It appeals to everything I stand for with problem solving and creative thinking.

Today was the first time I took my students in to have a go at building things, and it was absolutely fascinating to observe the ways different kids approached the task. We had the full range, from those who took the instructions and worked steadily through, to those who grabbed the pieces and tried to work intuitively to put the bits and pieces together. So on an operational level it was interesting to watch the different approaches.

What was even more interesting was the second half of the lesson. This was when it got to the point that they may test their robots, having paired them with the IPads using Bluetooth. As with most things concerning technology, some worked perfectly while others didn’t work for seemingly inexplicable reasons! The difference in the way that they kids dealt with it was fascinating.

“Oh NO it’s not working! Let’s take bits off until we see where we’ve gone wrong.”

“WHY ISN’T IT WORKING? Miss Pennington can you help us???”

Straight tantrum: throws machine, gets in trouble.

“Oh, is yours not working? Ours is, compare it and we’ll see what’s different”

“Oh my goodness! Guys try this look what happens! COOL!”

In one lesson, the whole gamut of resilience is revealed. Not only that, but the extent to which these kids will help others as well as themselves.

I've been working on a measure of resilience for my PhD. Turns out, all I need to do is put a Lego robotics kit in front of a child! I think it's important for teachers and parents alike to reflect on how their students / kids react to disappointments or challenges. When we teach literacy and numeracy we start with what they can already do and build on it. I think it would be useful for us to do the same with resilience.

Next time you get out the Lego be keenly aware of the chat that surrounds it!

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Rose Pennington