LEGO: Build Your Own Adventure – City
LEGO: Build Your Own Adventure – Star Wars
Dorling Kindersley, 2016
Kit including hbk book and LEGO pieces, RRP $A39.99
An unusual review today but one deliberately chosen to alert you to a new series of books published by Dorling Kindersley and released here through Penguin. Given the buzzword of the moment in school libraries is ‘makerspaces’ and there are constant requests to the forums I belong to for ideas about activities that can be offered, especially those which enhance the library experience as well as the design, make, appraise process, this series offers a wide-ranging solution.
While we are all familiar with the regular box of Lego bricks and paper instructions for making what’s inside (instructions which always get damaged or lost), the instructions for these creations come in a hardcover book with the LEGO pieces in a separate container which can be opened out to form the foundation of the adventures. They are enclosed in a sturdy slipcase which makes for easy storage. The box also has a pictorial list of its contents so putting them back should be easy.
Each comes with a mini-figure and a vehicle related to the theme – City has a fireman and a firetruck while Star Wars has a rebel pilot and Y-Wing Starfighter – and the makers are encouraged to build them from the supplied bricks following the very clear, full-colour numbered instructions. Then, within the book there are suggestions for building further adventures using their own bricks to create their own story. Each is divided into chapters with clear pictures of the models that could be built to enhance the telling although instructions are not given because builders might not have the precise bricks used. For example, in City which features Ed the firefighter there are clear pictures to build the fire station environment as well as suggestions for uniform lockers, a town map and a tool bench. Each chapter then features a cityscape with a range of related suggestions for getting the imagination and creativity into top gear.
For those new to LEGO there is a pictorial ‘glossary’ identifying terminology with examples so budding builders can hunt through their existing LEGO collection to find the sorts of pieces they will need, as well as five pre-build checks which would make a handy poster to display in the makerspace.
- Organise your bricks into colours and types
- Be creative and substitute other bricks if you don’t have the exact one in the plan
- Research what you want to build by finding pictures on it in books or online
- Have fun and if something isn’t what you thought it would be, change it to something else
- Make a model stable to house the creations
While each of the books in the series would be perfect for an individual LEGO fan, their appeal for the library collection is that there are plenty of ideas and opportunities for groups of builders to collaborate and negotiate to build an entire scene that could then be photographed and used as an individual story stimulus, allowing each to create and achieve at their own level.
Whether your library or school has an existing LEGO collection or is just starting to acquire one, this series is an excellent starting point to giving its place in the makerspace and the curriculum focus and purpose, not just for the thinking and building processes involved but also those essential people skills of collaborating, negotiating, making suggestions tactfully, offering feedback and being a team member.