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LEGO Lessons

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LEGO Lessons

LEGO Lessons
At Marshall’s LEGO City, kids can learn to build several robotics projects and see how they move.

LEGO LessonsLEGO projects make for serious learning as we head to Huntington for a stop at LEGO City. Part of the Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute on the campus of Marshall University, it seems like simply a room full of the little toys. But what’s happening here is getting kids hooked on math and science by teaching the fundamentals of robotics. Director Linda Hamilton says lessons with LEGO materials can be the building blocks for the future.

“Science, technology, engineering and math has to be the focus now to get them ready for the next generation of jobs,” Hamilton said.”What they learn here is that math is not about solving problem number 10 on page 177. It’s actually learning how to make something go, and making it go faster and slower, how things work, what will happen if we put more weight on or make other changes. These are things you can’t learn from books. They realize that math and science can be fun, and someday they can do it and get paid for it.”

LEGO Lessons
Linda Hamilton works with one of the robotics that maneuver around LEGO City at Marshall University.

Hamilton takes a version of LEGO City to summer camps and library programs during the summer. But she’s also available for families to stop by for a one-day session. She says groups of three children are ideal because they can work on a robotics project as a team, and kids as young as six can take part.

“We can build and program a robot, cars, monorails and snowplows,” Hamilton said. “It’s not about coming here and building a toy. They’ll learn about gears, axels, levers and pulleys, which are all part of making things move.”

The fun doesn’t end when kids leave. They can log on to the Internet and control the transportation systems in LEGO City. The planet Mars is also part of the colorful, miniature community. Thousands of people from all over the world have logged on to steer LEGO versions of NASA’s Mars rovers around a tabletop recreation of the Red Planet. For more information visit marshall.edu/LEGO.