Pull the levers of power

6th June 1997 at 01:00
Lego Dacta Early Simple Machines: #163;57Lego Dacta Mini Sets: #163;12Lego + Dacta Simple and Powered Mechanisms: #163;56-74Lego Dacta, Ruthin Road, + Wrexham, LL13 7TQ. Tel: 01978 296292Age range: 5-11Although Lego Dacta has + always been synonymous with quality technology products, there has been little + to connect the products to further activities such as computer control and + sensing in science in primary schools. However, this is about to change with + Early Simple Machines (for five to eight-year-olds), Mini Sets (for seven to + nine-year-olds) and Simple and Powered Mechanisms (for nine to 11-year-olds). + For teaching mechanisms to young children, the Early Simple Machines set covers+ all mechanical principles with big elements that are easy to use for small + hands. A teacher activity pack includes a guide with additional pupil cards for+ investigation and problem-solving activities.For the next key stage, Lego + Dacta has introduced the new, low-cost Mini Sets. These are ideal for focused + tasks concentrating on one mechanical principle - either gears, levers, pulleys+ or wheels and axles. They are ideal for the non-specialist teacher and for + classes which have not had previous experience with construction sets. They can+ also be used for reinforcing and extending the knowledge gained previously via+ Early Simple Machines. The excellent teacher's guides are obviously written + and developed by teachers.Simple and Powered Mechanisms offers a structured + approach for teaching mechanisms to older juniors. The kit replaces Lego + Dacta's long-standing Technic I and 2 sets and offers a huge improvement. The + powered system is compatible with the rest of the Lego Dacta range and the + teacher support material is again excellent. It provides the teacher with an + instant lesson plan to enable children to learn through exploration, + investigation and problem-solving. In addition, the kit has more elements such + as cams, belts, racks and wheels including a new gearbox, a better storage + facility with a transparent sorting tray and snap-on lid. Above all, the kit + enables the teacher to cover all aspects of simple and powered mechanisms. + There's now a natural progression from Early Simple Machines and the focused + and reinforced tasks based on one mechanical principle at the beginning of key + stage 2 with the Mini Sets. Teachers who are confident teaching mechanisms may + want to use only Simple and Powered Mechanisms for the whole of key stage 2, as+ the support material provides the complete development with lesson plans and + background information. Lego Dacta kits are typically regarded as expensive but+ my school's experience is otherwise. With careful management, our Technic 1 + and 2 kits have been going strong for nearly 10 years now. Funds are tight but + if you are looking for technology kits which take you by the hand, introducing + and developing all the basic aspects of mechanisms, driving systems and + structures, these new kits fulfil the role perfectly. Chris Drage

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now