9 Simple Lego Science Projects
Whether you're a parent searching for a fun science activity you can do with your kids, a teacher making a lesson plan, or a kid looking for a science project idea, you can find something to do with Legos. Legos can make a great science project!
This page is dedicated to simple Lego science projects, most of which don't require any special kits; that said, many Lego science projects that teach programming or robotics require a special Mindstorm kit.
Solar System Model
This is a great science project that doesn't require any Mindstorm programming. Simply build each planet and the sun with appropriate colored bricks, and paint bricks in any color you don't have. Build each one to scale so that kids can see the size difference between the sun and the different planets.
Lego Earthquake Science Project
Can you build a city that will withstand an earthquake? This project teaches concepts of structural stability, earthquake engineering, and some basic physics.
Basically, you try to build as tall a building as possible that can withstand an earthquake, simulated by shaking the Lego platform back and forth. Create specific challenges, like a 30-story building, with each row of bricks being a floor. Hypothesize what kind of buildings can withstand a 'quake.
Lego Stress Test
The question this one asks is simple: ”How many times can I stick and unstick two Lego bricks before they wear out?” Scientist Phillipe Cantin found the answer after building a machine to test it: it took 10 days, or 37,112 assembling and disassembling actions.
You can use Legos to model molecular structures as a way to visualize chemistry lessons. This lesson was developed by educators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the models themselves can be found here (opens a PDF).
Lego Plant Cell Model
There are all kinds of models you can make with Legos. The photo above is a plant cell, but you can have your students or children recreate anything. Have them figure out how to represent each part of the cell using bricks, and be able to do so accurately. Great for the kinetic learners to learn the different parts of the cell.
Similarly, you can also have students build models of body parts or different types of plants. For example, see the kidney made of Legos below.
Lego Kidney Model
Chemical Reaction Powered Cars
Measure the distance Lego cars can travel on various chemical reactions. It looks complicated, but it's pretty simple. Here's how it's done:
- Build a simple car out of Legos.
- Using tape or a rubber band, strap a film canister to the top of the car, so that the top (the side with the lid) is facing the back.
- Put an Alka Seltzer tablet into the canister.
- Fill the canister with a small amount of water and quickly place the lid back on.
- Put the car down and wait for the gas from the Alka-Seltzer-and-water reaction to pop off the lid of the canister and propel the car forward.
- Experiment with different amount of water and Alka-Seltzer, or try different types of containers.
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