Survey Says . . . .

LEGO Education has tallied the results of its survey about LEGO organization in class/club settings, and here are the results.

I want to hold off on my opinion for now. What do other teachers and coaches think? Be sure to look at the sidebar gallery.

I have a couple of weeks to figure out how to organize a big pile of LEGO pieces for a dozen different summer camps/classes. It won't work to store everything in the boxes in which they came. I'll post photos when I figure it out.


Joshua Heinzl said…
Done properly, tackle boxes do not take up much space. If there is much extra space left in the NXT set bins, tackle boxes may even be comparable to them. I think it depends on how much lego and how many different parts you are talking about. It may very well be convenient to sort just the parts from NXT sets into their own boxes, but once you start dealing with a few hundred more different lots, other sorting methods will become more convenient.

Unknown said…
I have a large mixed collection of thousands of Technic pieces (including 2 NXT Education Kits and 1 Retail Kit) for my homeschool class. We've had great luck with Stanley XL tool organizers. Six of them give me two sets of 3 organizers: one for liftarms and similar items, one for beams and roof pieces, and one for various types of connectors. The drawers are a great size for holding the longest liftarms and beams, but also have optional dividers so that we can keep gears sorted in the drawers of our connectors box. The boxes stack 3 tall very conveniently, but 3 of them fully opened fit across my dining room table. I keep the controllers, sensors, motors and cables in one of the original storage boxes and hand them out individually just so that I can keep track of where they are.

I buy the tool organizers at Home Depot, but I haven't been able to find a photo online. Amazon has the smaller version. I'll try to get a photo of our setup for you tomorrow.

My class has found this storage method to be extremely convenient -- easy to store, easy to find parts, easy to keep parts organized. And portable to boot!

Peter Hoh said…
Joann, thanks for your ideas. If you take a photo, you can email it to me at midwaypete[at] and, with your permission, I'll post it on this blog.
Joshua Heinzl said…
We like to use Plano and other tackle boxes. We have a system with about 20+- different types of bins, with extras of the most commonly used, backed up by extras in bags and boxes. Here are some examples of the bins we use:
Small Beams (technic bricks, 1-6)
Medium Beams (6-12)
Large Beams (12-16)
Straight Liftarms
Bent Liftarms
1xN Plates
Pins/Bushings (2 bins)
Uncommon Pins & Misc1
3 other Misc Bins
Small 2xN Plates
Large 2xN Plates
Short Axles (2 bins)
Long Axles (2 bins)
Gears (2 bins)
Suspension & Transmission
Rubber Bands/Belts

Etc. Most of this we also have extra in bags in case the bins get low. You can never have too many technic bricks or pins ;)

When starting, WalMart is a great place to go for inexpensive sorting containers. Use Tackle Boxes - Plano is a nice brand.

Right now we don't have as much excess inventory of NXT electrical parts. We have one box for extras (tons of NXT cables and converter cables, all sorted), unused items are kept in the original NXT boxes, and used items are separated in bags. We will start using an NXT electronics bin soon.

The key for successful use of the set and other elements is total integration and sorting. Take the liftarms and connectors right out of the NXT sets and put them into your bins.

So: 1) Tackle Boxes
2) Backup Tackle Boxes - keep them exactly the same as the originals, these are just for extra parts.
3) Boxes. Similar sorting system to tackle boxes, but a few more groups can be put together. 30 bins can be 10 large boxes (except for bulk items, which once category may take several boxes).

As far as sorting inside the boxes. We for the most part mix colors but never mix different parts. 3 axles and 4 axles are separated in the same 'short axles' bin. Even all the kinds of connectors like axle angle connectors 1-6.

Portability - decent. If you don't mind carrying quite a bit into your car with some storage space (mini-van works great). We can move all of the bins from one room to another in 5 or 10 minutes.

Obviously, this is only for very large collections. Perhaps I can take a picture of one of our bins.

Peter Hoh said…
Josh, thanks for writing out how you (or is it your team) organize your LEGO elements. I'd love to see a few photos of your system. I don't think I need to see a photo of each bin, but one phtographed up close, and another shot of the whole get up would be nice.
Joshua Heinzl said…
If I could fit it in one picture ;)

I'll see what I can do.


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