Lego 'like flat-pack furniture'
Published 21/06/2010 | 06:42
Children face the same mental challenges when building Lego models as adults do when putting flat-pack furniture together, research has revealed.
A study, carried out by Dr Miles Richardson at the University of Derby, looked at the way children built a series of models using Lego bricks.
The work aimed to show how a greater understanding of the way children approach construction tasks could help boost their development in maths and science.
The study, set to feature in a forthcoming edition of Applied Cognitive Psychology, suggests four factors play a part in assessing how easy or hard children find it to complete models.
These are: the variety and number of blocks needed to complete the task, symmetry of the blocks and the number of spare blocks.
Dr Richardson found the issues affecting children building Lego models are the same as those affecting adults building flat-pack furniture kits.
The same formula he previously developed to determine the ease of assembly for such kits for frustrated DIY-ers also helped predict children's Lego-building performance, the university said on Monday.
He said the research could help educators and developmental psychologists identify then take measures to help children who might struggle academically.
"Construction tasks form a major part of children's play and can be linked to achievement in maths and science," he said.
"However, there is a lack of understanding of construction task ability and development. Given the breadth of construction from infants' play using things like Lego bricks, to adults building self-assembly products, the lack of understanding of its development is surprising."