Earlier this year, I attended a conference, we were seated in rows and certain rows were asked to turn around and introduce themselves to the person sitting behind them, alternate rows didn’t turn around. My first reaction was, ‘Oh no’, I am an introvert and these types of activities are normally well out of my comfort zone. Taking a deep breath I did so, then we were told that we were to play a game with the new person we had just met. Fight or flight response set it, I couldn’t choose flight as the doors were shut, and I wasn’t on the end of the row, and I couldn’t choose fight, for obvious reasons 😂.
Each pair were given a zip lock back containing the pieces needed to build a specific Lego structure, and the instructions on how to build the desired structure. We were told that one person only could view the instructions, and they must use verbal instructions only (no pointing or hand gestures), to instruct their partner to build the desired structures. The winning pair, would be the pair who completed the task the fastest.
Initially I chose to build, but then quickly changed to give instructions as I was so out of my comfort zone my hands were shaking (really?). Before we began the challenge though, we were permitted to talk as a pair and sort out Lego pieces. This was interesting, essentially the same as sorting data. Did we sort according to colour, shape, size, arrays of dots on Lego pieces? A great activity.
Then we began the challenge. As I am a visual and mathematical thinker I actually enjoyed the task.
Why not play this with your class? At the end of the task, ask students what thinking was involved? What communication was necessary? What problems did you have? What does this have to do with computational thinking?
You can purchase small boxes of Lego from many places, I just had a quick look online and there are a range of $12 kits from Target, make sure you get a range so that not all teams are building the same structure and so that you can repeat the activity several times.