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.
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 and any creative materials they have at hand. 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, influence decision-making around the world, and support children on a path to life-long learning and civic engagements.
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.
“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.”
First Book Educator
The LEGO Group’s new course – A Future Without Waste – co-created with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is the first course of its kind, using the Learning through Play resource to introduce the concept of Circular Economy to children aged 7-12. As the environment, society, and business work together to solve problems of today and the future, creating an understanding amongst children on how these three areas are linked has never been more important.
The course guides children through a learning journey, teaching them about the importance and benefits of keeping resources in use for longer, eliminating waste and pollution, and regenerating nature – all presented in a fun, playful approach. To reinforce the core theme and embrace more educators/classrooms, LEGO bricks are not a requirement for this course pack. It is actually suggested that students re-purpose scrap-materials and other items found around the classroom or in their homes instead.
Revolutionized Learning for Children in Need
The primary goal of the partnership was to use human-centric design to identify the relevant need and develop 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. Educator contributions and ideas were considered from start to finish in the design and creation of the end product. Their voices were captured through numerous focus groups and woven throughout the Build the Change Course Pack and First Book Accelerator resource.
Free Course Pack
In the 10-session course, students ages 7-12 will learn about animals, their habitats, and how they are threatened by the effects of climate change. Students can create imaginative solutions to these real-world challenges and share their ideas with others. At the heart of the sessions are hands-on creative activities called “Time to Create.”
Climate Change Accelerator
Climate change is a global issue that affects different countries and climates in different ways. First Book’s Climate Change in the United States is an educator resource that provides information about how changing weather patterns and increasing temperatures affect specific communities and industries throughout the country and includes links to additional climate change lessons and resources. The course pack contains activities that reinforce the core theme and LEGO bricks are not necessary. Students can use other creative materials, even drawings, so that no one is excluded.
Create Your First Book Partnership
First Book works closely with leading businesses, nonprofits, 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. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.