Confidence in the Classroom

The Lego-Harris Poll and STEAM: Why Confidence in the Classroom Matters

By Matter and Form on December 13th, 2019

What is the Lego-Harris “Confidence in Learning” Poll?

Does confidence make students happier and more productive learners? What role does a hands-on learning environment play in reinforcing self-confidence? The Confidence in Learning Poll was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Lego® Education to answer these very types of questions. 

Surveying 5002 students, 5001 parents and 1152 teachers over a period spanning from February 6th to February 28th, 2019 in five countries, it sought to understand global educational attitudes on the role confidence plays in learning and applying STEAM skills. 

Key Findings From the Lego-Harris Poll1 

Global insights from the poll concluded that a lack of confidence in the classroom hinders students’ abilities to learn effectively. Based on these insights, school curriculums must embrace hands-on learning to build confidence and improve educational outcomes for current and future generations.  

  • According to 77% of teachers and 62% of parents, the number one way to build confidence in STEAM subjects is by working on hands-on projects with others 
  • 51% of students say trying new things at school makes them nervous 
  • 47% of students say they avoid subjects where they have failed before 
  • 95% of teachers, 93% of parents, and 87%-89% of students think hands-on learning is a critical tool to rebuild confidence at school 
  • 91% of teachers would like to integrate more hands-on lessons in their classrooms
  • Better tools for hands-on learning are the number one way to help teachers integrate this type of learning in the classroom*

* These statistics come from the “Global Findings” section in the Lego-Harris Poll, which surveyed individuals in the USA, China, Russia, Japan and Germany. 

The Lego-Harris Poll Shows the Value of the STEAM Pedagogy

Given the findings of the Lego-Harris Poll, it’s worth asking whether the traditional reliance on siloed classrooms, lectures on abstract concepts and repetitive memorization exercises still meet the learning needs of the current generation of students. The STEAM pedagogy aims to improve and update this system by integrating the different disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts and math so that the student learns through holistic, hands-on processes. 

For educators, the overarching goal of K-12 schooling is to create ​positive student outcomes​. This means ensuring that students are comfortable applying different types of knowledge. More than that, though, it means building modern skills for the modern workforce and lifelong success. Not just technical skills, but lateral thinking, creative skills, as well as a lack of fear around the iterative problem-solving process of trying a solution, seeing its failure points, and trying again. These principles are fundamental to the STEAM pedagogy and it’s why embracing this type of learning will be so important if we are to address the issues in the Lego-Harris Poll. 

Update an Outdated Curriculum with STEAM!

Hands-On Learning as a Means to Build Confidence

With hands-on learning, students try new things, learn through iterative experimentation and focus on real-world applications instead of solely memorizing and repeating abstract concepts. Despite the changes in technology and understanding since the height of the Industrial Revolution, the traditional education system has gone largely unchanged since then. In this context, it’s understandable why the Lego-Harris poll concluded students may feel anxious or nervous when approaching new subjects at school. This is why we need STEAM-centric curriculums that consistently reinforce the value of trial and error and the inherent fun involved in experimentation for students to develop confidence, rather than assessment-based curriculums that focus on right or wrong answers. 

If the outdated education model is struggling to help students build confidence in schools, why aren’t we trying something new?   

By introducing cutting-edge learning areas like Makerspaces, building confidence with hands-on learning becomes an attainable goal for teachers and students. A makerspace is a collaborative, creative space where students come together to make DIY projects, invent, learn and share ideas. Importantly, these spaces position students as active creators rather than passive observers, encouraging them to learn from their own engagement with raw materials. Above all, the Maker pedagogy promotes important principles such as inquiry, play, imagination, innovation, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and personalized learning. By consistently reinforcing the value of these principles, makerspaces can help students build confidence as they learn. 

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How Matter and Form “Solves STEAM” 

Matter and Form was founded and built on the principles of multidisciplinary creative thinking modelled in STEAM. Our 3D scanners and projects solve STEAM by delivering hands-on learning for next-generation creators. We designed our 3D scanner with students in mind. Plus, our STEAM projects are fun, meaningful, flexible, standards-aligned and hands-on. Students use our projects to design, modify, print and iterate to create prototypes that work to solve problems. This design process encourages students to use trial and error to become more confident in developing and testing ideas. 

The 3D scanning design process can:

  • Help to build technological literacy and understanding
  • Teach students how design affects function
  • Build hands-on technical skills
  • Engrain the value of trial and error, problem-solving and iterative testing to improve confidence
  • Help students understand how to harness their creativity and innovate using technology 
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Learn More About Matter and Form, STEAM and 3D Scanning

Confidence in the classroom isn’t only about the students. Teachers and educators play an important role in helping students build self-esteem through STEAM learning. By incorporating STEAM tools such as the Matter and Form 3D scanner into classrooms and curriculums, educators can help students learn, develop and gain confidence in fundamental skills that they can use throughout their professional lives.

Learn More About Matter and Form Education >>


1. The Confidence in Learning Poll. Harris Polls and Lego® Education