When it comes to toys, kids are the experts.
Some toys have short lives, or only hold their attention for a short time, while others endure. Legos are the longest-lived toys in our home.
This Lego love began when our son G was about 1, when he received a set of giant MegaBlocks for his birthday. MegaBlocks led to Duplos (the big Legos), which led to standard Legos. G is 20 now, but if the younger boys ( 10 & 12) pull out the Legos, guess who plays right along with them?
It’s only natural that we would try to use Legos for education. Enter Botany. The boys’ Botany book begins with a lesson on Classification, and one of the suggested activities is to classify something, such as Legos. We had a whole big box full of bricks, so I thought, “Why not? This will be fun!”
Little did I know.
It seemed like it would be such a straightforward thing, dividing them into groups. But which groups? By what attributes do we group them?
By color? Size? Shape? Purpose? Yes, yes, and yes. And then when it got confusing we gave up on those groupings and started over.
We learned a few things while attempting to classify those colored plastic bricks.The scientists who discover new species, classify and name them have a tough job. Living things have to be many times more difficult than Legos, and we were really stretched by this little exercise.
We started out grouping them by color.
I should say here that while even THIS seems simple, it also became very monotonous. “White, white, red, white, green, black, red…”
And then the questions started. “What about these big flat green ones? They aren’t bricks!”
or “Hey mom, these wheels aren’t like anything else. What do I do with them?”
and “All these tan pieces just make a Droid.”
I didn’t help them very much. They had to put their science minds together and decide how the pieces would be grouped.
So we sorted and classified, sorted, and classified some more. We ended up going by Group, Color, Type, and Use.
The classifications we came up with were:
Phylums: Black, Red, White, Yellow, Green, Tan, Blue, Purple, Gray
Classes: Bricks, Flats, Accessories (wheels, windows, guns, etc.), Beings
Orders: Construction, Vehicle, Droid
This was not quick. It was still fun, but it took a very long time. Three hours later, we got down to building something to classify. The boys naturally went with the family favorite: Star Wars…