ERMS Tiger Project is a lesson in collaboration

When Tanya Anderson first walked into the East Ridge Middle School (ERMS) library two years ago as the new librarian, she was inspired by the Lego wall that had been installed by her predecessor. She began brainstorming ideas on how best to incorporate the wall to fulfill the district’s shared purpose, “to provide highly engaging, relevant, and personalized learning for all members of the community.” Over the summer, Tanya designed an activity that did just that, and the end result exemplifies how community collaboration and dedication can accomplish great things.  

Tanya initially thought designing a tiger, the school’s mascot, for the Lego wall would take a few days. Instead, much of her summer was dedicated to what became a significant endeavor.

“Once I started, I couldn’t seem to stop. … it became a personal challenge,” Tanya explained.

She started the design process by looking at images of tigers, then used the “Legoizer” program to help with the dimensions and framework. She spent hours searching for the Legos required to create the huge tiger. She borrowed Legos from her children’s friends and even contacted Lego’s headquarters in Denmark for specific pieces.  

Tanya finally secured the 5,000 Lego pieces needed for the wall. She then collaborated with the math department to map more than 10,000 coordinates for the students to find. She even differentiated the skill levels so that everyone would be challenged. Students did not know what the finished design was going to be, and were fascinated watching the image appear as each small Lego piece was added by students, teachers, administrators, PTA members, and parents. The end result has exceeded Tanya’s expectations.

“It fills my heart with joy every time a student comes into the LLC and says, ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’ knowing that they were an integral part of the end product,” Tanya said.