04 February 2013
Posted in Engineer It!
Take a trip down memory lane to the last time you played with Legos. Believe it or not, these childhood building blocks weren’t only fun—they actually helped develop your aptitude for math and science!
That’s right—besides building space cruisers, helicopters and pirate ships, Legos are also building the next generation of engineers. They allow children to use their imaginations, plus every Lego project also teaches basic engineering and design principles! Building with these little plastic blocks helps kids develop spatial reasoning and learn about structural integrity, design and a practical sense of geometry.
But these aren’t your mother’s Legos—these bricks have come a long way. The MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarten Group is currently partnered with Lego to create innovative tools for kids of all ages. These new Lego kits are creating technologically-savvy kids primed with an interest in careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). For example, kids can use the Lego Mindstorm kit to build their own robot. The more complex Technic kit, aimed at high-schoolers, teaches the basics of gears and torques to create tow trucks, cranes, and jet planes that really fly.
The group is currently at work creating the next generation of Scratch, an online game that teaches kids the basics of programming. With Scratch, children create interactive stories through a programming language based on the stacking patterns of actual Lego bricks.
Try your hand at engineering with the Science Center’s newest exhibit, Engineer It! This exhibit takes advantage of the connection between Legos and engineering ideas. It features a chance to build your own Lego boat that you use to deliver marbles safely across a body of water. The exhibit also features several building stations that give you a chance to experiment with different bridge and tower designs, as well as create your own!