Homegrown STEM Learning

November 15, 2012

Brickport Lego “Quick Build” Contest

I was honored to serve as a judge for the Second annual “Brickport”  Lego building contest on Monday. It was a school holiday and about 20 kids participated in the contest held at the Seymour Library in the village of Brockport, NY. The event was organized as a fundraiser by the Prairie Fire Twig, a group of local women who provide support to the Brockport Lakeside hospital. This Twig, led by professional working women, decided to to create an event that benefits more than the hospital, but also rewards local kids for their creativity and industriousness. I don’t usually get too excited about fundraisers, but this seems like a piece of my dream for the future: where creative thinking  and STEM learning are integral to our society.  The group simply solicited/donated prizes and snacks, had a big box of Legos and advertised the event. It cost $5.00 to enter and there were many prizes (all building kits) to be won. As we celebrated Veteran’s Day on Monday, the theme was “Honoring American Heros”.  There were lots of creative entries.

Winning entry “9/11 Heros”

The grand prize winner was a dramatic scene entitled “9/11 Heroes”. There were also a series of “Quick Build” competitions. Kids were given a theme and ten minutes to build something. They even had an adult round (our theme was “politics”) and I learned how hard this is. My entry consisting of of a little green plant did not win, but the experience sure helped me gain a measure of respect and appreciation for the kids who built frogs (“rainforest”), swimming pools (“sports”), solar-powered lunar modules (“space”) submarines (“underwater exploration”) and more with only ten minutes, a bucket of parts, and the ability to plan and design that will take them far. These are our future engineers and my hat goes to off them as well as to this creative group of women who found a way to encourage their thinking while raising money for a good cause.