PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details
Solve-It-Blocks is a product, that helps nurseries and schools deliver many aspects of early years and primary curricula. Skills such as communication, concentration, leadership, literacy, memory, numeracy problem solving, team building and working with others are also developed with its use. The puzzle is aimed for ages 2-12+ and can be played individually or in teams. A working mathematical model, offering exposure to algebra, computational thinking and coding via the logic, order and sequencing is required to solve the puzzle.
a) The main activities in schools and nurseries are to play the game which promotes active, competitive, physical activity and stimulating intellectual and analytic enquiry through puzzle solution. This helps children develop essential team and social skills which are required in many aspects of their ever changing lives and allows every child to improve their motor, analytic and communication skills to increasingly higher levels.
b) The activities are carried out in schools and nurseries.
c) For example: In one nursery with a class of 48, 3-4 year olds, the children were taken in groups of six to play the game at the instigation of either the children or the teachers over a four month period. What we discovered is that the blocks were played with, by that class, for one full day in every week. This highlighted the teachers and the children’s interest and engagement with the puzzle. What the teachers have observed is the team building skills that the children have developed using this game have been transferred to other activities that the children carry out. In autistic school, the teachers observed that children who normally did not take part in individual or group class activities, initially watched the game being played by others and then actively got involved. Therefore unusually, demonstrating increased social response, from children who are normally challenged by working with others, in close proximity and in team games. In a school in Greenwich in London, where the school was multi-cultural and multi-lingual (we were told this school had 27 different languages) we were demonstrating the blocks the teacher specifically chose three children to work together who had identified behavioural conditions. The children remained focussed and motivated on the task and repeatedly solved the puzzle successfully. The teacher further commented that these three children had difficulty working with others. The Headteacher of the Greenwich school said he would use the blocks to do an evidence based case study for helping his OFSTED report. (www.ofsted.gov.uk)
d) See c) above.
e) See c)above.
f) During research we specifically chose 4 children to work together, two of which were French
and two were English speakers, that couldn’t converse through language but they were able to play and solve the puzzle.
INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.
We need to develop collaborative activities that combine physical and mental skills in children that allow them to cope and thrive with the demands and challenges they face in an ever changing world. We need to progress from the traditional ways of work i.e. efficiency and repetition; as we are now in a world that is defined by change and therefore has implications for everyone. The reimagine learning is to teach children at a very young age the skills they will require to thrive in a world of constant change.
LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?
Learning through play is about giving opportunities to children so that they can use their imagination and create ways to challenge themselves and others around them. Playing in groups provides lots of challenge as children have to find ways of dealing with each others needs and skills, through effectively communicating and developing solutions by helping each other solve any problems that may arise.
SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.
To date we have self-funded. We are developing a business model that will allow us to roll this out world-wide and this will require funding. Our present model is direct selling and e-mail marketing, as well as web searching. We feel we have a business model that will allow us to expand in the UK. Our world-wide strategy is first of all to develop an “app” that has the puzzle part of the game. This will also drive “in app” advertising to our website and we are also going to worlds’ biggest toy exhibition in Nuremberg in January 2015 where we will look for partners to licence and distribute our physical game.
MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?
Our mission is to try and give all children in the world access to Solve-It-Blocks. Our business model is aimed at delivering this. For schools and nurseries that can't afford it we will use local entrepreneurs to fund it by explaining to them that if they want to help deprived children in their local community. If they fund sets of Solve-It-Blocks this will ensure that they give the maximum benefit to the local community, for the money they give.
FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?
At this moment in time we would use it for the development of the App because there is a demand worldwide for mathematical puzzles that people can play on their phones and tablets. This of course does not give the physical play and team building for children. What we would develop would be 'in app' advertising in order to raise awareness of the physical product and its related challenge.
PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.
We think this is aimed at projects that don't have a product. Our partnerships are with universities in relation to developing a better understanding of the different levels of game and puzzle play in relation to age and stage. We also have partnerships with nurseries, schools, manufacturers, website developers and suppliers in order to develop and maintain the product and our business
COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.
Not yet, as we've not expanded overseas but as we expand overseas and as the partners are based in different countries, they may be able to help us in their countries market place.
VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?
Every country, every school and every nursery would have had access to and have benefitted from using Solve-It-Blocks.
IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time
As we researched and developed the game and puzzle in line with worldwide curricula it followed that our objectives were to achieve as many sustainable learning outcomes as possible. One source of this data was in the professional testimony that was fed back during research, across many different educational establishments. Attached is the manual being supplied to nursery and primary teachers in Scotland highlighting many learning outcomes.
APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.
Physical Play, Play with Objects, Symbolic Play, Games with Rules, Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Providing a Range of Opportunities (providing the equipment and materials needed for various types of play), Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts), Adults Participating (Ensuring adults are able to play alongside children), Challenging Play (play that disrupts - where rules are disregarded and levels of imagination are high).
Other (please specify)
Gender & Culture Free Active Learning
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.