On Oct. 23, Nintendo and the Institute of Play announced a partnership to bring Nintendo Labo kits into elementary classrooms nationwide. The program combines the innovative play of Nintendo Labo with the basic principles of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) to inspire kids, reinforce skills such as communication, creativity, and critical thinking, and help make learning fun.
The Institute of Play is helping to build curriculum and as part of a pilot program with schools in the greater New York area, Grafflin students in Mrs. Ende's third-grade class participated in an interactive learning session with the Nintendo Labo: Variety Kit for the Nintendo Switch system, led by Rebecca Rufo-Tepper, Co-Executive Director of the Institute of Play.
Nintendo Labo kits provide the tools to make DIY creations called Toy-Con, including a Fishing Rod, Piano, and RC Car, among others; play games with these Toy-Con creations through a mix of physical and digital experiences, and discover how Nintendo Switch technology brings it all to life. Using a mode included in the software called Toy-Con Garage, students are introduced to basic principles of programming, allowing anyone to use the tools and technology within each kit to develop their own imaginative creations, from fully-realized musical instruments to analog clocks and much more.
Held in the MakerSpace of Grafflin's new Global Learning Center, Nintendo and the Institute of Play will use these pilot classes to develop a Nintendo Labo Teacher Guide that will allow other educators to implement Nintendo Labo in the classroom to promote the development of skills such as creative problem solving and collaboration. The Nintendo Labo Teacher Guide will include sample lesson plans and learning modules dedicated to basic elements of STEAM and the Make, Play and Discover components of Nintendo Labo. The guide will be available for free later this fall to anyone who wants to incorporate Nintendo Labo into their classrooms or homes.
“We are always on the lookout for new tools and technologies that combine the best of learning with the spirit of play, and in Nintendo Labo we found an inspiring and innovative approach in both areas,” said Arana Shapiro, Co-Executive Director of the Institute of Play. “Teachers in the pilot program are already seeing the natural fit for Nintendo Labo in the classroom, and now we can bring that dynamic to schools across the country.”
Once the pilot is complete, the program will expand to approximately 100 schools across the United States. “The ingenuity of Nintendo Switch brings Nintendo Labo to life to provide a fun way for kids to explore basic STEAM topics together and be entertained while building a fundamental understanding of the technology behind them,” said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. “We hope our programs in the United States and Canada encourage kids to explore, tinker, problem-solve and, in the process, get excited about design and technology - all while having fun.”
For more information about the Nintendo Labo program with the Institute of Play, visit https://labo.nintendo.com/classroom.