Follett, an education materials and technology wholesaler, announced Thursday that it will begin selling hands-on STEM materials and software from LEGO Education solutions.
The product bundles are designed for school libraries looking to outfit makerspaces, which are designated environments for interactive learning.
LEGO Education, part of the LEGO Group known for its toy building blocks, makes hands-on materials kits, software, and curricula designed for STEM instruction in pre-K-12.
Its products include a Lego block “park” that teaches early learners engineering design principles, drag-and-drop coding software for elementary school students, and robotics equipment for students at the middle and high school level.
Five bundles will be available for purchase: one each at the preschool, elementary school, and middle and high school levels with grade-appropriate curricula and resources, and two with building blocks and related non-digital materials.
The company will also offer a recommended book list to “extend the learning,” said Nancy Stetzinger, a senior product manager at Follett, in an interview.
In addition to teaching STEM skills, the materials also allow young students to practice communicating and listening. They’re also aimed at cultivating social-emotional skills, said Stetzinger. Lessons for preschoolers are designed to teach role play and collaboration, according to the LEGO Education website.
Follett began selling makerspace materials in June of last year, she said, starting with 30 different products and now offering over 400. Stetzinger sees potential for further growth. “It’s still a relatively untapped market in a lot of areas of the country.”
Interest in maker education has grown in the past few years, in part as a backlash to standards-based instruction and high-stakes testing. Schools libraries are often a hub for maker activities, with librarians taking on evolving instructional roles.