STANDARDS

CCSS: 3.NF.A.1

TEKS: 3.3A

Designing Playful Products

Meet Amy Corbett, a LEGO designer who dreams up new toys—and then makes them a reality!  

Courtesy of The Lego Group 

Amy Corbett

You’ve probably played with LEGO® toys before. These tiny plastic bricks come in many shapes and sizes, all of which can connect to each other. LEGO bricks have been around for more than 60 years!

Usually, building a LEGO structure means following the instructions to match the picture on the box. But new LEGO sets called DOTS make you the designer.

“DOTS is about decorating and exploring patterns,” says Amy Corbett. She designs LEGO products and runs the team that created DOTS.

You’ve probably played with LEGO® toys before. LEGO toys are tiny plastic bricks. They come in many shapes and sizes. All LEGO bricks can connect to each other. LEGO bricks have been around for more than 60 years!

Building a LEGO structure usually means following the instructions. You try to match the picture on the box. But new LEGO sets called DOTS make you the designer.

“DOTS is about decorating and exploring patterns,” says Amy Corbett. Corbett designs LEGO products. She runs the team that created DOTS.

Designing DOTS

DOTS sets combine the engineering of traditional LEGO sets with the creativity of arts and crafts. First, users build an object such as a pencil holder or picture frame. Then they decorate it with colorful round, square, and triangular tiles. Some tiles have emojis like laughing faces.

DOTS started with a lot of brainstorming. “We had some really wild ideas,” says Corbett. The team found inspiration in street art, Instagram, and magazines. After sketching ideas, the designers tested their builds using plain white bricks.

Traditional LEGO sets help kids develop engineering skills. DOTS sets combine engineering with arts and crafts. Users first build an object. The object might be a pencil holder or picture frame. Then users decorate it with colorful tiles. The tiles can be round, square, or triangular. Some tiles have emojis like laughing faces.

DOTS started with a lot of brainstorming. “We had some really wild ideas,” says Corbett. The team was inspired by street art. They also got ideas from Instagram and magazines. First, the designers sketched some ideas. Then they tested their builds. They used plain white bricks.

Next, they built models out of colorful bricks. “We used 3-D printers to create bricks that don’t exist,” explains Corbett.

Designing new bricks can be challenging. “You’re using a lot of math and logic to get the building blocks just right,” she says. Designers also need to make sure every new brick they make can snap together with any other LEGO brick. “We want the pieces to be a part of the LEGO universe.”

The designers then built models out of colorful bricks. “We used 3-D printers to create bricks that don’t exist,” explains Corbett.

Designing new bricks can be challenging. “You’re using a lot of math and logic to get the building blocks just right,” Corbett says. Designers need to make sure every new brick they make can snap together with any other LEGO brick. Says Corbett, “We want the pieces to be a part of the LEGO universe.”

Testing Toys

Corbett’s team worked on DOTS for two-and-a-half years. Along the way, kids tested the different versions. These toy testers helped pick which ideas moved forward.

Corbett loves designing with LEGO bricks because there are so many ways to solve problems. “If something doesn’t work one way, you can always find another way to get the same effect.”

Corbett’s team worked on DOTS for two-and-a-half years. Kids tested the different versions. These toy testers helped pick which ideas were used.

Corbett loves designing with LEGO bricks. She likes that there are many ways to solve problems. “If something doesn’t work one way, you can always find another way to get the same effect,” she says.

Analysis

Answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper.

Answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper.

What fraction of the squares in your keepsake box top have a shape design?

What fraction of the squares in your keepsake box top have a shape design?

Write 3 fractions to represent how many squares of each color you used in your keepsake box top design.

Write 3 fractions to represent how many squares of each color you used in your keepsake box top design.

Are there any rows or columns of your keepsake box top that could represent the fraction  ? Which one(s)? How do you know?

Are there any rows or columns of your keepsake box top that could represent the fraction  ? Which one(s)? How do you know?

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