Building Beyond the Classroom: TCS Third Graders Dive into Hands-On Learning at LEGO Discovery Center Atlanta

An important part of our strategic plan, “Unleashing Our Potential: Amplify. Thrive. Nurture,” is moving beyond the walls of The Children’s School’s campus to engage even more with our city for deeper hands-on learning opportunities. 

As an example of this, TCS third graders traveled to LEGO Discovery Center Atlanta as a part of their “Forces and Motion” and “Atlanta History” project-based learning units

Below, Third Grade Teacher Diana Bubes outlines the deep learning connections the students made on the trip.

By Diana Bubes
TCS Third Grade Teacher

How do you partner with TCS specialists, highlight two current units of learning in the classroom and maintain our school’s mission of learning through play? With a field trip to LEGO Discovery Center, of course! This April, TCS third graders attended a dynamic field trip that truly celebrated our learning.

First, we met with two master builders with the LEGO Discovery Center for a private, interactive class. Students were able to see and use all of the simple machines we have been studying in class to create launchers to propel their vehicles. They used measurement skills to determine distance traveled, troubleshoot, rebuild, and launch again. 

Each student had hands-on experiences with the tools, and the Master Builders did an excellent job supplementing our “Forces and Motion” PBL unit, including important vocabulary like “potential and kinetic energy.”

Students then interacted with LEGOs at various stations throughout the facility. From building and launching rockets to using wheels and axles on inclined planes with loops to sharpening the stop-animation skills they’re learning in the STEAM lab with STEAM Specialist, Kelly Lyn (who was one of the trip chaperones!), students enthusiastically increased their building skills and imaginations. 

Finally, we were able to see the entire city of Atlanta rendered in LEGOs. What a joy it was to see students use their map skills to locate buildings and landmarks they had recently created in the classroom during our “Atlanta History” PBL unit. Students even got to participate in a scavenger hunt to locate monochromatic LEGO figures hidden in the massive build. 

We returned to school and reflected on our experience. Both third grade classes unanimously reported no low points, only highs, about a truly fabulous day of teaching and learning!