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Kids Collect LEGOs for New Orleans



Arts & Humanities
--Visual Arts
--Applied Math
Social Studies
--Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

Children learned valuable lessons by collecting more than 1.5 million LEGO bricks.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, ask students to share ways in which they have helped others who might be less fortunate than they are. Students are likely to share how they help at holiday time by collecting food, warm clothing, and toys to give to kids and families in need. You might challenge students to think of other ways in which they help out all year long.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: donate, deliver, supplies, destroyed, possessions, and spread. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • We went shopping for all the food _____ we will need to take on our camping trip. (supplies)
  • On Halloween, some kids asked people to _____ coins to UNICEF. (donate)
  • My uncles stamp collection is one of his most prized _____. (possessions)
  • Our church pastor is looking for volunteers to _____ dinners on Thanksgiving Day. (deliver)
  • The principal used the school newsletter to _____ the word about our great test scores. (spread)
  • A tornado _____ two homes when it blew through town. (destroyed)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Kids Collect LEGOs for New Orleans.

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

  • Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

  • Students might first read the news story to themselves; then call on individual students to read the news aloud for the class.

  • Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

  • Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write a note in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.
  • More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • Third-grader Dixon Dubow attends school at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Students at the school, and Cub Scouts in Dubows pack, even solicited local businesses as they collected more than 45,000 LEGO bricks.
  • Thirteen-year-old Ben Lewis of Potomac, Maryland, worked with his local Habitat for Humanity chapter to organize a special LEGO building event. Too young to build houses, Lewis and his friends gathered with other young volunteers to solicit donations that were used to build LEGO houses. In total, they collected 50,000 LEGO bricks for New Orleans schools.
  • At the start of the new school year, Jacquie DeFreze, a fifth grade teacher from Rye, New Hampshire, kicked off a LEGO brick drive in her school. DeFreze mobilized her fifth grade student council and sent home fliers to all Rye Elementary School students asking for each one to bring in a donation. More than 300 students participated. In just over one month, the small school collected a total of 7,763 bricks.
  • "LEGO bricks are a classroom favorite, and we will put the donated bricks to great use, for fun as well as for learning," said Karen Ranatza, principal at The Good Shepherd School in New Orleans, when she was presented with buckets of the donated bricks.
  • One of the groups to benefit from the donation is KID smART, a non-profit organization that encourages creative thinking through after-school programs held at local public schools. KID smART serves more than 1,700 students at schools throughout New Orleans.
  • "Through this donation program, we were touched to see the generosity of the thousands of children who participated by giving something of their own to help kids who needed it more," said Michael McNally, Brand Relations Director at LEGO Systems.

    Comprehension Check

    Recalling Detail
  • When did Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast near New Orleans? (in August 2005)
  • Why did Dixon Dubow collect LEGO bricks? (to send to kids in New Orleans who lost many of their possessions as a result of Hurricane Katrina)
  • How many LEGO bricks did Dixon and his friends collect? (45,000)
  • How many LEGO bricks were collected all across the United States? (more than 800,000, which ended up in a total donation -- after the LEGO company matched that number -- of more than 1.6 million bricks)
  • How many schools in New Orleans received LEGO bricks as a result of the special project? (about 40 schools)
  • What is the origin of the word LEGO? (It is a shortened form of two Danish words -- leg godt -- that mean "play well.")
  • How many bricks did LEGO artist Natha Sawaya use to build a special model of New Orleans? (120,000 bricks)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News questions that appear on the students news page. Among the responses students might give are that the brick collectors learned valuable lessons in sharing; and that the kids in New Orleans learned that other kids around the United States really care for their well being.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Math. Use the LEGO theme to make up grade-appropriate math word problems for students to solve. For example:

  • Third graders at Lippitt School collected 750 LEGO bricks. Fourth graders collected 875 bricks. How many more bricks did the fourth graders collect? (125)
  • The boys of Greenwood School collected 8,000 LEGO bricks. The girls collected 11,000. How many bricks were collected in all? (19,000)
  • The LEGO brick drive brought in 450 bricks on Monday, 790 bricks on Tuesday, and 1,250 bricks on Wednesday. How many bricks in all were collected on those three days? (2,490)
  • Students at Lockwood School collected 75,000 LEGO bricks. If the LEGO company matched that number of bricks, how many bricks were collected in all? (150,000)
  • If 40 schools received an equal share of the 1,665,200 bricks collected, how many bricks did each school collect? (41,630 bricks [determined by dividing 1,665,200 by 40])

    Language and spelling. Ask students to find and circle the following ten words in this weeks News for KIDS news story: collection, delivered, destroyed, donated, heard, libraries, matched, really, supplies, and used. Then ask students to write or spell out loud the root word of each of those words.

    Math -- graphing. Are students at your school collecting food, mittens, or toys to give to those in need? If so, create a class graph to illustrate the number of items collected each day of the week. Or students can use this bar graph template (scroll down to page 10) to create individual graphs.


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
    GRADES Pre-K - 2
    NM-NUM.PK-2.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 3 - 5
    NM-NUM.3-5.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 6 - 8
    NM-NUM.6-8.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NM-NUM.9-12.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates

    MATHEMATICS: Representation
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-REP.PK-12.1 Create and Use Representations to Organize, Record, and Communicate Mathematical Ideas

    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-C.K-4.5 Roles of the Citizen

    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-C.5-8.5 Roles of the Citizen
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-C.9-12.5 Roles of the Citizen

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2006 Education World