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My kids love LEGO, so much that I created a LEGO Brain-Twist class for our homeschool co-op. We’ve been having so much fun with this class, you cannot imagine. My favorite so far (and I think it’s been the kids favorite so far too) has been the LEGO Zip Line.
At the beginning of every class (which is an hour long), I present the LEGO challenge of the day. The kids spend about 15-20 minutes building, and then we have our activity with the build.
We also have a LEGO fact to learn, which always goes quickly, and at the end of the class we have a 10 minute build challenge where the kids can build whatever they want and then present it to the rest of the class (presentation skills, yeah!). Sometimes this gets skipped if we’re having way too much fun to stop our activity!
For this class, we built a “compartment” for our LEGO character (mine was a horse) to ride in while it slid down our zip line. It doesn’t have to be complicated, or follow any certain plan.
The zip line was simply about 12 feet of fishing line strung from a curtain rod down to the bottom rungs of a chair, tied around each and pulled tight. We made two of them so we could race of course! The longer run you have, the more fun it will be.
You can totally do this at home if you don’t have a co-op! In fact, the day we got home after doing this, my little boy wanted a set of lines in his room. I’ve only walked into them a few times, lol, but he’s having fun.
So, check out my build:
I’m not kidding you, this thing won against every race except one with the kids!! They were in total disbelief (I was a little shocked myself). Quickly, they modified their builds after every race to improve them. They raced against each other, they hooted and hollered. This was some serious fun. Kids in the other classrooms were really curious to find out what we were doing!
The 10 minute free build did not happen at all, the races were just too much fun!
We did (very briefly) discuss the aerodynamics, weight, friction etc. of their builds as we were going through the races. This helped them strategize changes and improvements to their builds for the next race.
The arches at the top for example help the LEGO to slide well on the fishing line, even if it swings from side to side, and not get caught where two LEGO meet.
Also, it’s important to make your build fairly simple. After “riding” down the line, at the bottom, more times than not it will crash and fall to pieces. So, for ease of moving onto your next race, ease of putting it back together is key. Although, like I mentioned, the kids made changes to their builds each time pretty quickly, so that won’t hold you up too much.
Have fun with this! There are so many variations possible, you’ll be surprised at the uniqueness of all the different builds.
The zip-line in my sons room is still up, a simple line of fishing line = the simplest of accessory to your LEGO collection!
Some other ideas:
- Get a bunch of friends together and have heats and eliminations for an ultimate LEGO prize.
- LEGO birthday party themed game
- Parents vs kids races
- Use different types of line (fishing line, string, rope, thread etc.) and theorize the fastest, use the same build and test your theories on each line, document your conclusion = LEGO science!
If you’d like to have a LEGO Unit-Study, opt-in below! It details everything you need to do for four one-hour classes in LEGO Brain-Twists with your own collection of LEGO.