Using LEGO to Support the ECC
Earlier this fall, PRCVI added LEGO kits that are connected with accessible digital online instructions to its library. These kits have been a popular item for teachers to request on loan, and in working with teachers and students as they use these kits, we've been thinking of all the areas of the ECC that could be supported through this activity.
The first step in using the LEGO kit is getting the area set up. Students will need to practice their compensatory skills in determining all the materials they'll need (LEGO kit, iPad, internet access) and arranging materials in a way that makes everything easy to access. Students will also need to use their independent living skills to think of a strategy to keep the LEGO bricks organized (such as using the container they come in as a place to store the unused pieces).
Next, it's time to open the accessible building instructions! This is done by reading directions in braille on the inside cover of the kit's lid and then using an accessible device (such as an iPad running VoiceOver or a BrailleNote Touch) to open the short web link provided in the instructions. This is a great opportunity to practice assistive technology skills. The accessible building instructions provide a choice of which format to read in (speech or braille) as well as a choice of which model to build. A great opportunity to foster self-determination skills!
One suggestion the provided in the instructions is to check with a sighted person about the colour of LEGO bricks. This could be a great opportunity to develop social interaction skills by having peers work together on a building project. Building with LEGO is a great way to build sensory efficiency skills, from listening skills (listening carefully to follow the instructions) to tactile skills (finding the LEGO brick being described). Even orientation and mobility skills find their way into this kit, with the building instructions directing students to align bricks horizontally, vertically, front, back, left, right, and beside other bricks.
Building with LEGO can help to foster a new recreation and leisure skills for students, who may decide to continue building as a hobby at home. And building can create some fantastic opportunities to talk about career and vocational skills, such as who builds the real versions of LEGO structures such as houses!
Do you have any creative ideas on using these kits with your students with visual impairments or in other ways the Expanded Core Curriculum can be incorporated into this activity? We'd love to hear your comments below!