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BrickLAB is a gateway into spectacular STEMventures! As a learning solution capable of invigorating any educational environment, BrickLAB is manipulative-based learning at its finest. Comprised of plastic blocks that combine and interlock paired with curriculum and educator resources, these sets empower students ages 5 to 95 to build anything they can imagine.
BrickLAB Bricks have been used in classrooms and makerspaces for nearly 15 years, offering opportunities for hands-on learning and student-driven exploration in all grade levels. A standard BrickLAB includes 6,500+ of PCS Edventures’ signature “Perfect Bricks.” These bricks are developed with superior grip strength and rounded edges for solid creations that won’t fall apart easily and don’t hurt hands during deconstruction. These bricks have been tested and proven in classrooms around the globe. Plus, there are extensive curriculum options available to complement any BrickLAB set. BrickLAB is here to bring STEM to your learners in exciting ways that build student buy-in and lifelong interest!
Hands-on learning engages both students’ minds and their hands. Also known as kinesthetic or tactile learning, it is a style in which students perform physical activities or manipulate materials rather than listening to a lecture or reading information. Kinesthetic, manipulative-based, or hands-on — no matter what you call it, this learning stimulates multiple senses and often helps students better remember concepts.
“Hands-on learning engages students’ minds and hands.”
After studying “effective implementation of STEM,” John Kyere (2017) of Walden University found:
Hands-on [teaching methodology] has the potential to make students active learners, promote a higher level of participation and motivation, to increase students’ interest and understanding, to lead, to the construction of knowledge by the students themselves, and to bring greater retention of program material to increase performance. (p. 108)
In addition, he discovered that hands-on learning is especially effective in the teaching of science and math topics. Traditional teaching styles, such as lectures and textbook readings, can help provide background information, but getting to touch real objects creates more comprehensive learning. Not only that, but students become more curious and engaged when they have the option to dive into the subject through a hands-on approach. This leads to greater classroom success overall.
To prove this point and better understand the connection between hands-on teaching and student success, Boise State University and the Idaho SySTEMic Solution (ISS) conducted a joint three-year study called “Connecting Science with Engineering: Using Inquiry and Design in a Teacher Professional Development Course.” The researchers showed that manipulative-based learning with BrickLAB increases enjoyment of both STEM learning for students and STEM teaching for educators. When students are given opportunities to use their hands along with their minds, they learn far more than lesson content alone. They practice motor skills and spatial awareness, learn math and numeracy skills, and pay attention for longer spans (Nadelson, Pyke, Callahan, Hay & Pfiester, 2011). Plus, 21st century skills integrate naturally, especially the 4 C’s: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
Beyond student learning, bricks can increase teachers’ confidence in STEM subjects. In Solving the STEM Stigma, Casper (2010) describes results from the same study regarding the advancement of elementary teachers’ abilities to effectively convey STEM topics in their classrooms. He states, “Through a three-day workshop and simple interaction with BrickLAB® manipulatives, the researchers were able to increase efficacy and confidence for teaching STEM, as well as improve the participant’s previous notions of engineering” (p. 7). Teachers who enjoy and understand what they are teaching are able to communicate clearly and positively with their students. This creates a better experience for everyone and may even inspire students to pursue future STEM studies or careers. To read the full report, read the STEM Stigma White Paper.
When students build and create, they gain a fuller understanding of the presented concepts. This applies not only in engineering and math, but also in history, language arts, design and more. These BrickLAB collections help educators apply bricks in a variety of learning environments:
Another great BrickLAB option is Enrichment Programs. These programs are specialized for after-school and summer programming — unlike classic BrickLAB sets, Enrichment Programs include color copies of student print materials and all extra materials needed for the lessons including storybooks, pencils, paper and more. These materials are different for each camp, specialized based on a unique and exciting theme, encouraging students to explore real-world applications of STEM concepts:
For more than 30 years, PCS Edventures has specialized in the kind of application-based, iterative discovery that characterizes an engineering design approach to problem-solving. BrickLAB is a tried and true learning tool that can bring new life to any lesson. When students are given the opportunity to try, fail, and try again, they develop grit. They learn that failure is not the end — it’s a learning experience. An opportunity to correct initial failings to make an even better creation. As the 20th-century education influencer, John Dewey, once said, “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” This process of learning-by-doing leads to critical thinking, problem-solving skills, innovation and intrinsic motivation, all of which will support long-term student success.
“Failure is not the end — it’s a learning experience.”
BrickLAB is one thrilling way to start students on the path to becoming builders, innovators and makers. Educators around the world are achieving incredible success by introducing bricks to their students. Set down the textbooks and put engaging STEM materials in your learner’s hands, helping them retain more information, stay engaged longer and build critical skills needed to excel in STEM fields. Time to start building!
Interested in discovering how Enrichment Programs can invigorate your learning environment? Download a free Curriculum Sample, peek behind the scenes at PCS Edventures or contact a STEAMbassador at (800) 429-3110 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Casper, T. (2010). Solving the STEM Stigma: Teacher Preparedness, Manipulative-Based Learning and Inquiry-Driven Edification [Ebook]. Source.
Kyere, J. (2016). The Effectiveness of Hands-on Pedagogy in STEM Education. Walden University. Source.
Nadelson, L., Pyke, P., Callahan, J., Hay, A., & Pfiester, J. (2011). Connecting Science with Engineering: Using Inquiry and Design in a Teacher Professional Development Course. Source.
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