The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Where are the Blocks? A Case for Blocks in Primary and Elementary Classrooms

Eugene Geist, Louisiana State University (United States)

Abstract

This paper explores the pedagogical benefits of incorporating wooden building blocks of the type found in most preschool and kindergarten environments, into the curriculum of the primary grades. Drawing from a constructivist approach to education, this paper discusses how tactile, hands-on learning tools like wooden blocks can facilitate cognitive development, spatial reasoning, and creativity among young learners. This paper finds that there is little research on block play in primary grades and that more research in this area is much needed.  The research that does exist suggests that students who engage in block play in primary grades can demonstrate significant improvements in spatial reasoning and mathematical concepts, particularly in geometry and measurement. Blocks also enhance creativity in problem-solving tasks and a greater ability to work collaboratively. The extant research, while mostly on block play for prekindergarten and kindergarten, highlights the importance of sensory-rich materials in early education and supports the integration of block play as a cost-effective tool to enrich the primary grade learning experience. Developmentally, primary grade children are more like preschool and kindergarten children than they are like later elementary.  Therefore, the use of play based curriculum such as block play in primary grades is beneficial, especially for the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).  The paper contributes to a growing body of evidence that hands-on learning resources can provide a meaningful complement to traditional teaching methods, fostering a more engaging and effective educational environment for primary-grade students.

 

Keywords

Block Play, STEM, Mathematics, Science, Engineering

 

References

Lozon & Brooks. (2019). The Potential of Purposeful Play: Using the Lens and Language of Crosscutting Concepts to Enhance the Science and Engineering Practices of Play. International Journal of the Whole Child, 4(2), 88–94. Directory of Open Access Journals. https://libezp.lib.lsu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsdoj&AN=edsdoj.5ddf98d2a205441596500f91d2351b6c&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds-main

Durham, S. (2015). Primary Grades: Blocks: “Standard” Equipment for Today’s Primary Classrooms. YC Young Children, 70(1), 52–58. JSTOR Journals. https://libezp.lib.lsu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.24641329&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds-main

Gold, Z. S., Elicker, J., & Beaulieu, B. A. (2020). Learning Engineering through Block Play: STEM in Preschool. YC Young Children, 75(2), 24–29. JSTOR Journals. https://libezp.lib.lsu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.26979142&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds-main

Hansel, R. R. (2016). Creative block play. [Electronic resource]. In eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost) – North America (LSU Library (Main Collection) AVAILABLE ONLINE; First edition.). Redleaf Press; Louisiana State University. https://libezp.lib.lsu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat00252a&AN=lalu.7170830&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds-main

Isabelle, A. D., Russo, L., & Velazquez-Rojas, A. (2021). Using the engineering design process (EDP) to guide block play in the kindergarten classroom: Exploring effects on learning outcomes. International Journal of Play, 10(1), 43–62. APA PsycInfo. https://doi.org/10.1080/21594937.2021.1878772

Jacobson, L. (2000). Elementary Schools Using Blocks To Build Students’ Skills. Education Week, 19(37), 6. Teacher Reference Center. https://libezp.lib.lsu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=trh&AN=3282043&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds-main

MacDonald, S. (2001). Block play: The complete guide to learning and playing with blocks. Gryphon House.

Tõugu, P., Marcus, M., Haden, C. A., & Uttal, D. H. (2017). Connecting play experiences and engineering learning in a children’s museum. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 53, 10–19. ScienceDirect. https://libezp.lib.lsu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edselp&AN=S019339731630185X&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds-main

 

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