Students display Lego Artwork at Morris Museum

Recently, the Morris Museum invited Academy360 Upper School students to participa20161130_104121te in an exciting art project using Legos that will be part of their upcoming exhibition, Engineering Brick Art. When they received the news of the assignment, the students were instantly excited and so was I. Nancy Romain, Chair of the Morris Museum Access-ABILITY Committee, requested that I choose a project that would encourage our students to engage in learning while viewing the artwork, so I knew Op Art was a perfect choice. Op Art is a style of artwork where the artist creates optical illusions, typically using complementary colors, geometric shapes and/or a pattern. Choosing this style of art would provide an opportunity for students to learn about the art history of this style, complementary colors, and mathematical concepts. That night I researched two designs for the students to work on collaboratively.

20161130_1148280-1The next step in this journey was Lego-tizing the images. I found a free online program where I was able to submit the images. What I received back was basically a Lego map of the image (see Figure 1). After figuring out how m
any different types of Legos would be needed, I placed a custom Lego Pick-A-Brick order, which turned out to be a whole other journey, not without its challenges…from calculating how many Lego pieces to order, to the site being down for three days.  Ms. Anne Beauchamp and I patiently added all the Legos to the on-line shopping cart and successfully placed our order!


A few days passed and the excitement was still high. The students regularly asked when we would be starting our project and for an update on the Lego shipment. Little did I realize that the Legos were being handpicked in a warehouse in Poland. When Mrs. Beauchamp informed us of this news I was concerned we wouldn’t have enough time to complete the project, but she diligently kept us up to date on how close our package was and when it would arrive.

The day finally came (almost 18 business days later) when our Legos arrived!  With our Lego maps ready, the students jumped right into the project,  literally before I could explain anything. So, I just sat back and watched…even through the hiccups.  Sometimes there weren’t enough of the right size Lego to complete the pattern, but I watched as each student problem solved and combined Legos to create the correct size pieces needed. By the end of my second class, to my surprise, both projects were COMPLETE!

Not o20161130_120853nly did the students love the project, but they begged me to call their teachers so they could each stay to finish their section. I can’t explain how happy and proud I am of my students every, but this project just exemplified how amazing and intelligent they are. Their ability to problem solve, focus, and work together was highly evident.

We look forward to our next adventure and conjuring up some ideas for a future Lego project!

Engineering Brick Art will be on exhibit at the Morris Museum from December 17, 2017, through February 26, 2017, featuring Academy360 Upper School students’ work as well as 30 other Lego brick marvels!

dsc_0158Liana Kelly is the Academy360 art teacher.  She has always loved art and children, but it took longer than you would think for her to become an art teacher. As an aspiring artist, she started her college experience at The School of Visual Arts and while in school, she held a variety of childcare related jobs.  When she finally realized that combining her love for art and passion for working with children was what she wanted to do, she transferred to Montclair State University for Fine Arts Education. After graduating in 2013, she worked at Academy360 Upper School as a Teacher’s Assistant. It was her first experience working with students with autism, and she loved it! Before she knew it, she had applied for her Master’s degree in Inclusive Education to become a Teacher of Students with Disabilities (she graduates in May 2017!) There is no place she would rather be; no group of students she’d rather work with. She feels at home, because of how loving and appreciative the students’ are. In 2014, she took the position as an art teacher for Academy360 Lower School and Upper School.  It allows her to continue doing what she loves every day. When she’s not at work, she enjoys making her own art, backpacking, hiking, and loving her cat, Kiwi.

2017-08-30T11:30:22+00:00 December 12th, 2016|Categories: Academy360, Creative, Spectrum360|Tags: , , , |