A Neshoba Central Middle School class used more than 5,000 Legos to design a replica of several elementary school buildings as part of their advanced placement math studies.
Teacher Tonya Hancock used the project to teach a standard on scale drawing.
Students were given blueprints of the first, second, fourth and fifth grade buildings, along with the kindergarten and gym. Blueprints for the third grade building and the auditorium were not available.
Working in groups of four or five, each group was charged with constructing their designated building to scale using Legos.
The groups constructing the first and second grade buildings had the biggest challenge as they had to connect with an adjoining foyer and office. The fourth grade group had to incorporate the cafeteria and nurse offices.
All groups learned a lot about structural integrity as there were numerous do-overs for such things as collapsed roofs and walls.
The roofs were the biggest challenge, students said.
Those working on the fourth grade building had to build a beam to support the roof.
Each group had to go to their designated building first to measure the structure, windows and doors, which they also had to count.
Then they had to calculate it to scale.
The project included a number of other things including the car rider line, sidewalks, trees and even the flag.
“We wanted to show our patriotism,” said McKayla Baldwin, who worked with the first grade team.
“We had to work with the second grade group to build the connecting office. Our walls weren’t very stable, so we had to work on that.”
Baldwin said eight people trying to build something together could be challenging at times.
“We had to move our first grade building three or four times so it would line up with the second grade building,” she said. “Trying to find which Legos worked best where was a challenge.”
Going outside and measuring the first grade building was her favorite part of the project. A ladder was utilized.
Students working on the kindergarten building designed an ostrich in front of the structure. Since each kindergarten class is named after an animal, they thought an ostrich class was needed.
Hancock said the groups learned a lot about roof angles while working on the project. Students used laminated paper for the roofs and drew lines on it so it to resemble tin.
“What better way to describe a scale drawing than to build a scale model?” Hancock said. “We used the blue prints to get as much information as we could. Then we went over to the elementary and measured the things they had down on their lists.”
The students didn’t want the project to be massive but they didn’t want it tiny either, Hancock said.
“I let them work through using the scale factors to see which one would be the size of buildings that we really need. They set up a proportion and solved it to figure out what the widths and lengths of the buildings were with the scale factor.”
She said another challenge for the students was matching the sidewalks leading to the car rider line.
“Several had to adjust their buildings to make them match with others,” Hancock said.
She credited the success of the project to teamwork.
“It was a great project and it really tied in to the standards that we teach,” she said. “It’s hands-on. Sometimes you’ve got to learn things hands-on and not out of a book or on the internet.”
Hancock was pleased with the final project, something she had been wanting to do for three years.
Her ultimate goal is to design a replica of the entire school campus.
Neshoba County Superintendent of Education Lundy Brantley said the students “will always remember the skills they developed and used with this project. I really appreciate Mrs. Hancock developing this project for the students. This type of instruction takes quite a large amount of time to design.”