In 2021, the LEGO Group, a partner of First Book, worked to take a new approach to provide resources to our growing network of educators. Instead of creating resources based on corporate goals or assumptions, the LEGO Group worked with First Book to conduct research and create materials that were specific to the current needs of educators. Particularly, the LEGO Group wanted to adjust its product offering and model to accommodate the increasingly virtual environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research and educator feedback guided the creation of a sustainability-focused learning experience that was engaging for students, effective for teachers, and allowed educators to easily integrate the Learning through Play STEM sessions into the existing curriculum.
Recognizing the reach of First Book and its community of over 525,000 educator members, as well as its history of successfully executed partnerships, the LEGO Global Social Impact Programs team sought First Book’s expertise in creating educational resources for formal learning settings. The LEGO Group first and foremost worked with First Book as its primary US distribution partner for this material to reach schools and communities in need.
Learning Through Play – Build the Change
The LEGO Group’s Build the Change program is a powerful way for children to express their hopes for the future using their imaginations, LEGO® bricks, and other creative materials. Their long-standing program allows children to have hands-on creative expression to learn through play as they explore and engage with solutions to important environmental and societal challenges. These topics matter as they are challenges that will be theirs to solve in the future.
At the heart of Build the Change is the Learning through Play model which allows children to develop and practice key skills like collaboration, communication, design, and creativity as they play and learn. The Build the Change program’s wider mission is to give children a voice so their ideas and visions can inspire leaders and influence decision-making around the world.
The Network Impact
During the campaign’s duration, 44,850 children and 3,002 educators were reached through the launch of the Build the Change Biodiversity and Climate Change Course Pack on the First Book Marketplace. To help educators jump into the curriculum, 18,006 Brick Play Boxes were donated to First Book classrooms through the LEGO Replay Program, giving children a chance to access and play with LEGO bricks.
As a result of collaboration, the developed resources and campaign resonated with First Book educators who downloaded and used the resources in their classrooms. Ninety percent of educators who responded to the post-launch survey stated that they would recommend the Build the Change learning experience to other colleagues and educators.
Revolutionized Learning for Children in Need
The primary goal of the partnership was to use human-centric design to identify the relevant need and a go-to-market virtual product that would inspire U.S. educators to leverage the LEGO Group’s Build the Change program as a classroom resource. It was important to use educator feedback from First Book’s Network to inform the resource to help drive adoption, specifically for educators serving children in need. The research completed prior to launch informed the First Book Accelerator and helped create a Course Pack that localized climate change and its effects in communities that First Book serves.
Ninety-four percent of educators who responded to our survey said that Build the Change’s Learning through Play activities encourage kids to learn about climate change and biodiversity. The success of the Biodiversity Course Pack has helped shape future opportunities for improvement and expansion.
Through the combined strengths and assets of First Book and the LEGO Group, Build the Change and future Course Packs are set to revolutionize learning for children in need. First Book’s partnership with the LEGO Group provided our Network with a first-of-its-kind resource on sustainability that included their contributions and ideas from start to finish. The end-product and design were created with the voice of the educator in mind, woven throughout the Build the Change Course Pack and First Book Accelerator resource.
From the Educators
After the Network received their course packs and Brick Play Boxes, we reached out to participating educators to learn more about how this initiative had impacted their classroom.
“I just feel like this is a wonderful way to incorporate STEM to an issue that everyone in the world needs to take more seriously. My young students have impressed me so far with their desire to help our planet and just the interest that they are showing has been amazing to me. Again, I am grateful to have been a part of this experience for myself and my students.”
“The lessons are great. They fulfill state standards while letting my special education students explore given topics. They love it!”
“Thank you so much for this opportunity! I love the power points to share with my class and the interactive polls. I am extremely grateful for the LEGOs that were sent to use with this unit. While I have LEGOs for my STEM students, we always had to take apart what we made at the end of class so the next class could use the LEGOs. With the LEGOs sent, I have been able to let my students keep their LEGO creation for the next STEM class so we could continue the lesson.”
“Please, keep reaching out to our schools and offer more learning through play. Our students are fifth and sixth graders who no longer get a recess period. They had so much fun, laughing, and engaging with students with whom they would not ordinarily work.
The best part was the change of focus from “environment, whatever” to true concern about their part in improving the world.”
Partner with First Book
First Book works closely with leading businesses, non-profits, and individuals to promote equal access to quality education for kids in need. Together, we have distributed more than 200 million new books and learning materials to schools and programs serving children from low-income families.
We are deeply grateful for the support of our generous partners and eager to collaborate with organizations that care about making a difference on behalf of kids. We invite everyone to explore ways to work together to provide even more books and resources to kids who need them.