The LEGO: Skills Session

Welcome to the website for the Learning Enrichment Generated from OSTI: Skills Session (LEGO: Skills Session). This is a workshop-based course that is being run within the course MT121 (Introduction to Applied Mathematics) in the Mathematics department at Royal Holloway. Each student will attend three 2 hour workshops during the term. The session is designed to provide some valuable transferable skills training, although the main point is to encourage students into good working practices early in their mathematical careers.

Results of 2016

The idea of the LEGO: Skills Session is derived from the rotation-based learning concept of the Open Science Training Initiative, and more specifically the LEGO session at SpotOn 2013. However, this course is not about open science principles. Instead, it is a problem based learning course aimed at improving reproducibility within the written work of undergraduates. This is important, not only for the teachers who have to mark work, whether this is exercise sheets or exams, but also for students. The work produced for exercise sheets ought to provide a useful revision resource, but this is only the case if the work is written with a focus on the method rather than the answer.

While this course has been designed with Mathematicians in mind, the mathematical content is zero. This means that it could easily be applied in other disciplines, and it also means that its messages will not be corrupted by potentially having to devote time to reviewing subject-specific information that students ought to already be familiar with.

If you are interested in implementing a similar course, and would like to discuss details, or would like access to course materials, please contact Dr. Kay.

Course Structure

Each student will be expected to attend three 2 hour sessions. At the first session, students will form teams of (usually) 6, and each team is given a standard box of LEGO. Across the 3 workshops, each team will:

  • Take a given set of instructions, and follow them an an attempt to build the model that is described. They will then provide feedback on how easy the instructions were to follow, and how they might be improved.
  • Design a new model, and produce instructions for it. These instructions are the ones that the teams in the next session will try to reproduce.
  • In light of feedback received on the instructions, produce a revised set, possibly electronically.
Across the sessions, students are also expected to complete a short questionnaire aimed at helping them to focus on some of the conclusions they should be drawing, and how they parallel with their mathematics work.

  • Students can log in here to access their instructions, upload their feedback and, when released, view photos of the original model for comparison with what they produced, and see what scores they were given.
  • How to give good feedback - external webpage
  • External webpage on good teamworking.
  • Some suggestions of things to think about when writing homework solutions (this is written by a former mathematics PhD student at Royal Holloway and comes from his experience of marking undergraduate worksheets).