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Impressions from learning objects


Continuing the discussion from Creative Learning Activities:

A topic that has been floating around relates to educational objects. Intentionally designed objects like education tools are often useful in kinesthetic learning.

Here's an educational object I have fond memories of:

This type of counting cube had a strong impression on me and sparked my imagination.

I really like seeing all the toys, educational tools, and other objects that are getting posted in the Creative Learning Activities thread. I started this topic as I would be interested in exploring how our LCL concepts relate specifically to educational objects.

Does anyone have any pictures, memories, or reflections on educational objects and tools from childhood?

What are some important factors when designing an educational tool or hands on learning experience?


I was always a massive fan of tangrams — both as a logic puzzle and a creative medium.


Two of my major memories of learning objects are right here -- cuisenaire rods and tangrams! That's cool, and a fond memory for both.

Aside from Lego, which I've tinkered with since I was 3 years old, I think that "random stuff" had to have been my favorite object when I was younger. A couple of stand-out objects were the metal brush pieces from big mechanized street sweepers (I would find these when I went for walks with my mother because I was small and close to the ground), and capacitors from radios that I would take apart. Between things like that, some glue and some paint, I remember making all sorts of collages and art pieces that vaguely represented cities.

Most recently in the classroom, on advice from a colleague, I've been experimenting with shoeboxes, construction paper, ribbon, and other colorful objects with glue. The context is less about mechanical skill and more about reflection. In this case, it's a class about deign thinking and nutrition, where we are having middle school students represent "food they want to eat" on the inside of the box, and "food they are told to eat" on the outside of the box. Then they have an opportunity to explore the differences and potential challenges to eating healthy. It's been interesting to see how much real engagement the kids have in the physical activity, but also the sense of ownership in creation since it's both something they've made and representative of something in their lives.