Ursuline News

Building a Strong Foundation

Freshman English classes took building Legos houses to the next level!

English Teacher Kate Schenck had her freshman students utilize Legos to build a house. As they completed the task, they were asked a sequence of writing prompts:

  • How is writing an essay like building a house?
  • What are the elements of a strong essay?
  • How do the parts work together to build an effective argument and discussion?

Classes then used post-it notes and index cards to “build” parts of an essay on classroom desks. They built out topic sentences, quotes, and discussions.

“The premise was to use “play” to reinforce that an essay is not just something we write in a vacuum or for English class,” said Ms. Schenck. “It’s an attempt to “try” and to “play” with an idea – and the idea’s strength lies in its construction.”

Ultimately, the goal was to reinforce that quotes and topics can be moved around and that once visually laid out, ideas might be better suited to be moved… and that’s OK!

Dagny Danza ’24 enjoyed the lesson and learned that it’s important to tie themes together and to have a powerful thesis. 

“To build a house, you need a strong foundation,” she said. “The thesis is that foundation and without a strong one, you will have a destroyed ‘house,’ or a weak paper.”

Zoe Dodson ’24 agreed that both a house and an essay need a strong foundation for a steady structure.

“I learned that to be able to connect with a reader, you need to apply ethos, pathos, and logos,” she said. “Just like you need certain Legos pieces in order for your house to stand up.”