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HomeArts-EntertainmentLEGO Education Workshops Begin at the V.I. Children’s Museum Sunday

LEGO Education Workshops Begin at the V.I. Children’s Museum Sunday

Chris Richardson takes students Taddeo, Ari, and Daniah through the coding process. (Photo courtesy of VICM)

Starting Sunday, the Virgin Islands Children’s Museum will host a five-week LEGO workshop. Parents of children ages eight to 13 are encouraged to register now, as space is limited.

Workshops will take place on Sundays at the VICM from 12-2 p.m. The workshops will utilize LEGO Education Kits to help build critical thinking and collaborative skills. Students will engage in engineering, data analysis and communications in a fun and intuitive way. The LEGO kits link STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) instruction to real-world experiences by having students solve problems and the kits include many lessons that will allow students to learn at their own pace, according to the press release.

Ali Samuel, 11, and Dimitri Lettsome, 13, work together on LEGO project. (Photo courtesy of VICM)

In the last 10 years, LEGO has had a successful resurgence. After almost going bankrupt, LEGO recovered by refocusing on its core strengths and engaging its loyal customers of all ages. In competition with the increasing desire for video or virtual games, LEGO added virtual components to its products but has stuck to the hands-on learning approach that most engineering professors know could lead to “tinkering,” an ability usually associated with builders and creators, the press release stated.

Interestingly enough, LEGO was created by a Danish carpenter named Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1932. Many structures still standing were built when Denmark owned the Virgin Islands, a testament to their sound building techniques. Almost 100 years later, LEGO still gives families the opportunity to build, solve problems, and communicate while having fun, the release stated.

The V.I. Children’s Museum is a STREAM-based organization that aims to get more students interested in robotics with the hopes of advancing to the competition level with V.I. student-ran clubs, it said.

“Students are extremely excited for these opportunities to explore programs that may not currently be offered in schools. LEGO kits are on the expensive side, so creating these workshops gives children access to these kits, instruction and resources they may not have. We also hope to educate parents about the potential career paths down which engineering can take their children. Parents who are willing to support their children’s interests become parents who are willing to ask for support from the community. And it’s this increased involvement that will lead to more support for Robotics programs which will ultimately benefit our youth by creating more opportunities and pathways to those opportunities,” Chantel Hoheb, executive director of Operations and Development, shared.

The workshops will be led by Christopher Richardson and Peter Jean-Baptiste, two young Virgin Islands with great minds for programming, technology and problem solving, who assisted the VICM in researching and developing the LEGO workshops, according to the release.

Chris Richardson asks students questions. (Photo courtesy of VICM)

“I had the opportunity to compete in the FIRST Tech Robotics competitions in Atlanta and while we had access to Robotics kits, we did not have programming or strategy planning instruction. I’m thankful for this opportunity to help introduce Virgin Islands youth to engineering concepts taught in the LEGO kits,” stated Richardson, lead instructor.

After announcing the workshop, the VICM has received many inquiries regarding workshops for children younger than eight or older than 13. Museum directors have shared that they fully expect to create workshops for different ages as well but that they had to start somewhere. The earlier children are exposed to engineering concepts, the better. However, many children under the age of eight are still learning impulse control and coordination, and for this workshop, it’s important they be able to handle small objects and work well enough with their hands. On the other hand, experience with LEGO building or programming/coding is not a requirement for this workshop. Students of all skill levels are welcome, the release stated.

Peter Jean-Baptiste takes students through the build process with students Bodhi Martin, 9, Tucker James, 8, and Kaden George, 10. (Photo courtesy of VICM)

“We are so grateful for the vision of our supporters. Thanks to one of our amazing donors, the museum was able to purchase a few LEGO Education kits to test before creating these workshops. Thankfully, we were able to take advantage of the Device Loan Program at UVI and acquire tablets for our students to use, keeping the cost of the workshop low. We look forward to learning more from our students and parents and nurturing the organic creation of student Robotics clubs in and out of schools,” stated Hoheb.

To register for the upcoming workshop, click here. For more information, email vichildrensmuseum@gmail.com. Visit the VICM online at www.vichildrensmuseum.org or follow the museum on Facebook and Instagram @vichildrensmuseum.

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