www.legoeducation.us/storystarter • Retail Price: $237.95 (Classroom Pack)
Designed for use in second through fifth grades,
LEGO Education StoryStarter is a handson
learning tool that enhances students’
reading, writing, speaking, and listening
skills. One set contains enough elements
to equip up to five students with
everything they need to start constructing their
Quality and Effectiveness: Have LEGO
bricks ever been cooler? The classic
building toy can now be part of everyday
classroom work and can even be tied to
standards, thanks to the StoryStarter
curriculum packages. The lesson plans, objectives, and rubrics
are meant to guide teachers toward building physical, mental, and
digital literacies, all while having fun. While not the perfect solution,
StoryStarter comes close to fulfilling the promise of gamification.
Ease of Use: You’d be hard pressed to find a kid who is not
comfortable with LEGO. The challenge comes with the additional
element of working with StoryStarter. Students are led into
conversation about creating characters and scenes and plots. They
then create scenes using the specialized LEGO pieces.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Using a Web cam, digital camera, or smart
device, students can then take images of their creations and import
them into the software or application. Students
then turn into desktop publishers—using a variety
of graphic design tools, they are charged with
creating dialogue, editing images, and learning
basic layout design. While this product is
marketed for grades 2-5, we found our fifth-grade
reviewer more inclined to use the software, with
the second grader more intent on just building
with LEGO bricks.
Of course, we can’t deny what most parents and
teachers would describe as the “Lego Factor”—hundreds, if not
thousands, of tiny plastic pieces that will inevitably find the floor. The
Core set does come with a tub designed to store the various pieces but
our reviewers never seemed to get a handle on this concept.
Creative Use of Technology: StoryStarter effectively bridges the
tactile with the digital and creative fun with rigor and assessment.
Logging on to the software is simple and the basic tools are intuitive.
Our student reviewers took right to it, although they needed help
transferring and editing images and text. All curriculum material is
available as PDF and it is well written. The software is a true tool.
Students weren’t so much “playing on the computer” as “making
Suitability for Use in a School Environment:
How effective these projects could be depends
heavily upon class size and access to technology.
LEGO bricks are great but messy. And keeping
students on task could be a real challenge. The
lesson plans and rubrics are descriptive and
solid. As long as the teacher has a good grasp
on multimedia skills and a keen imagination,
StoryStarter should be a great addition to a
• The huge popularity of Lego makes it an
obvious draw for students to engage with in
• The software tools are simple and intuitive,
making the bridge between physical and digital
• The curriculum materials are well written and
easy to follow.