Chesapeake exposition builds better minds, one Lego at a time – Virginian-Pilot




Children have played with Lego bricks for more than 80 years, but there are no signs it’s losing its popularity.

Two teams from St. Matthew’s School in Virginia Beach recently took part in a Lego exposition in Chesapeake.

The children, all ages 8 and 9, presented the results of their research and innovation from a project that began last September at BrickheadZ, an educational program that uses Lego bricks, on Technology Drive in Chesapeake.

Every year, Lego First holds a national STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Lego-building challenge. The projects are intended to get students to work together, innovate and develop a project.

Vanessa Siedlecki founded BrickHeadZ LLC five years ago. The program promotes social development and creative thinking.

“We decided to do a mini expo to be able to share with friends and family, get some feedback on what they did and give them an opportunity to practice the skills of presenting,” Siedlecki said.

She said Legos are a useful and versatile tool.

“You can do a lot of stuff with it. You can do language arts, math and science,” she said.

Sedlecki has visited Lego headquarters in Denmark and taken part in Lego Serious Play, a method of building that involves strategic planning and team building.

At the event on Feb. 25, Siedlecki quizzed the children on various aspects of their projects, such as how they performed as teams. She described how everybody on the team should have a different job to do.

Jamie Berardi, a parent volunteer at St. Matthew’s, said the building challenge is a national program through Lego that focuses on STEM.

“We thought it was a great opportunity for kids who are interested in Lego building to expand their horizons and incorporate some engineering principles at a young age,” she said.

She said her son Clayton’s team did some basic research about the honeybee and the environmental challenges it faces and chose an animal that shares its habitat.

“They chose the boa constrictor,” she said. “They researched that and incorporated both animals into their Lego project.”

The students then added some robotic elements to give the project movement. They were also tasked with preparing an informational poster for the project.

“The thing that impressed me most was their collaborative leadership, their speaking and basic research principles, and, of course, sharing ideas,” Berardi said.

The students expressed enthusiasm for the project.

“I like it a lot because it’s motorized,” said Ethan Roadfuss, 9.

And apparently, you never get too old for Legos.

The Lego Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, according to its website. The company is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder who’s been playing with the little plastic bricks for a long time.



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