Children ages 5 to 12 have a one-of-a-kind chance to learn about the principles and methods of engineering, utilizing tens of thousand of LEGOs, Saturday at the Cultural Activities Center in Temple.
Instructors from Play-Well TEKnologies, a California-based educational organization founded in 1997, will conduct their “hands-on, minds-on” program designed to introduce and lead children through successful creation of what they term a “terrific building toy.”
Using boxes and bins of LEGO Technic and system components, students will work individually and cooperatively, guided by trained instructors from Play-Well — degreed engineers and artists. The curriculum is designed by engineers and is intended to build on math and science skills children learn during the school year.
“This is a great program,” said Jane Boone of the CAC. “It fosters an appreciation of how things work as well as encouraging curiosity, self-reliance and self-confidence — and they do pick up all the pieces at the end.”
The girls and boys at Saturday’s workshop will have an introduction to concepts and vocabulary used in architecture, physics and engineering. Classes continue one Saturday each month and a three-day workshop caps the program from June 30 to July 2. Projects range from working mini-elevators to small motorized wheeled vehicles, some with electricity generated by solar panels.
Molly Lebowitz, a Play-Well instructor, worked as an environmental engineer and said her goal is to get more youngsters excited about art, architecture and engineering. “We guide these young builders — not just the fundamentals of physics and engineering, but also in how to gracefully face the real challenges of the world,” she said. “They slowly learn to grit their teeth when their gondola falls off the wire, and start to rebuild, or help their classmate pick up the pieces.”
From framing miniature skyscrapers, building solar cars, planning entire cities to designing space vehicles, Lebowitz said: “The best part is, that it feels like play — not school at all.”