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(Left to Right): Rainbow Jewelry Stand; Pineapple Pencil Holder; DOTS bracelets

Courtesy of The Lego® Group (All Images)

STANDARDS

CCSS: 6.RP.A.3, 6.EE.A.2.A, MP2, MP4, MP5

TEKS: 6.4B, 6.4E

Designing Playful Products

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

Building a LEGO® rocket, castle, or city usually means following the instructions to match the picture on the box. But new LEGO sets called DOTS put you in charge.

“DOTS is about decorating canvases and exploring patterns,” says Amy Corbett, a LEGO product designer who runs the team that created DOTS. The sets combine the engineering of traditional LEGO sets with the creativity of arts and crafts. First, users build things like pencil holders and picture frames. Then they decorate them with colorful round, square, and triangular tiles. Some tiles have emojis like laughing faces and rainbow poop.

Building with LEGO bricks often means following instructions. You might make a rocket, castle, or city to match the picture on the box. But new LEGO sets called DOTS put you in charge.

DOTS is all about creativity, says Amy Corbett. She’s a LEGO product designer who runs the team that created DOTS. The sets combine engineering with arts and crafts. First, users build things like pencil holders and picture frames. Then they decorate them with colorful tiles. The tiles are round, square, or triangular. Some are decorated with emojis like laughing faces and rainbow poop.

Amy Corbett

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 used white bricks to test their builds.

Next, they built models out of colorful bricks. “If that color of brick didn’t exist, then we painted it,” says Corbett. “We used 3-D printers to create bricks that don’t exist.”

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 all other LEGO bricks ever created. “We want the pieces to be a part of the LEGO universe.”

Corbett’s team worked on DOTS for two-and-a-half years. Along the way, kids tested the different versions. “One of the hardest things is when you create a product you’re really proud of and have children test it out, and they hate it, or it doesn’t work,” says Corbett. These toy testers help pick which ideas move forward.

Corbett loves designing with LEGO 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.”

DOTS started with a lot of brainstorming. “We had some really wild ideas,” says Corbett. The designers looked at street art, Instagram, and magazines for inspiration. They sketched ideas, then tested them by building with white bricks.

Next, they built models out of colorful bricks. If the color of brick they wanted didn’t exist, they painted one themselves. They also invented new brick shapes. “We used 3-D printers to create bricks that don’t exist,” says Corbett.

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

Corbett’s team worked on DOTS for two-and-a-half years. They asked kids to test out different versions along the way. Sometimes the designers liked an idea, but the kid testers didn’t. That could feel disappointing, says Corbett. But it helped the team pick which ideas to develop into final products.

Corbett loves designing with LEGO. That’s because there are so many different ways to put them together to solve problems. “If something doesn’t work one way,” she says, “you can always find another way to get the same effect.”

Use tape diagrams to solve equations about the different LEGO DOTS sets. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Use tape diagrams to solve equations about the different LEGO DOTS sets. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

You can decorate several types of bracelets with tiles. The Go Team! sports bracelet has a total of 12 square tiles. There are 3 times as many patterned tiles as solid-colored tiles. How many solid-colored tiles are there? Solve using a tape diagram.

You can decorate several types of bracelets with tiles. The Go Team! sports bracelet has a total of 12 square tiles. There are 3 times as many patterned tiles as solid-colored tiles. How many solid-colored tiles are there? Solve using a tape diagram.

The Rainbow Jewelry Stand and Animal Picture Holders combined have a total of 654 bricks. The Picture Holders have 2 times as many bricks as the Jewelry Stand. How many bricks are in the Jewelry Stand set? Solve using a tape diagram.

The Rainbow Jewelry Stand and Animal Picture Holders combined have a total of 654 bricks. The Picture Holders have 2 times as many bricks as the Jewelry Stand. How many bricks are in the Jewelry Stand set? Solve using a tape diagram.

The Desk Organizer and Cosmic Wonder Bracelet together cost $25. The Desk Organizer is 4 times more expensive than the bracelet. How much does the bracelet cost? Solve using a tape diagram.

The Desk Organizer and Cosmic Wonder Bracelet together cost $25. The Desk Organizer is 4 times more expensive than the bracelet. How much does the bracelet cost? Solve using a tape diagram.

For every 4 green triangle tiles in the Creative Picture Frame set, there are 9 green square tiles. Combined there are 52 green tiles. How many green tiles of each type are there in the set? Solve using a tape diagram.

For every 4 green triangle tiles in the Creative Picture Frame set, there are 9 green square tiles. Combined there are 52 green tiles. How many green tiles of each type are there in the set? Solve using a tape diagram.

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