How LEGO is transforming teaching for these 2016 Top 50 Finalists

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The Top 50 Global Teacher Prize Finalists for 2016 have lots of fantastic teaching methods and strategies to engage students. When it comes to teaching science and math, these three teachers have one tool in particular that is a classroom favourite: LEGO. These small interlocking plastic bricks, originating in Denmark, have gone from child's toy to incredible engineering tool. Read on to see the various ways teachers are using LEGOs to create incredible education experiences.

1. Kazuya Takahashi, Japan

After attending graduate school in the US, Kazuya brought creativity to the classroom with the introduction of LEGO-based building projects to introduce his students to new and different career opportunities and scientific exploration. One project to which he contributed was the first Space Elevator building competition for high school students, held with the help of the Japan Space Elevator Association. He also created a program for LEGO-based instruction and project management with students able to attend cultural festivals, compete, and present during a student LEGO convention.

2. Janet Hayward, United Kingdom

As a principal of two schools in Wales and her current school in Cardiff, Janet has worked hard to enrich her classrooms through technology. Her methods have helped her previous schools become ICT pathfinders, and win several awards.

 Year 2 Cadoxton students present the Amazon rainforest in LEGO. In her current school there are eight screens in every classroom which are powered by solar energy, collaboration and distance learning technologies, and a LEGO Innovation Studio. Janet set up the studio to be shared between three schools in order to support challenging STEM learning. Based on her emphasis on learning through engaging technologies, class standards and attendance had steadily risen along with positive student behaviour. Video by Cadoxton and Club Innov8

3. Richard Johnson, Australia

Mr. Johnson's Class enjoying lab time. In Richard's class, he makes sure the students are having fun while they learn. His lab is full of incredible science-based tools that might seem more like toys to the kids in his Primary School class. From 3D printers to Augmented Reality experiments, he uses many techniques to create a fun education environment. When he teaches robotics, he uses a customizable system based around LEGOs. The company MicroBric, based in Australia, has created a robotics system called 'Edison' that Richard has brought into his classes. There are many fantastic LEGO robotics systems and competitions, but Edison is the first cheaply available one created by Kickstarter. We salute these educators for enhancing the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with creativity. Find out more about our 2016 Top 50 Finalists and tell us how much your #TeachersMatter!