Lego provides building blocks to creativity

EMMA TAYLOR
Last updated 05:00 27/06/2014

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Hamilton is taking a leaf out of Google's book by using Lego to inspire creativity.

The internet search giant has been using Lego for years to get the best from workers, which is exactly what Hamilton company Squiggle is doing with pupils in the classroom.

By bringing the colourful building blocks into schools, Squiggle director Jeanne Kerr is hoping to capture the imagination of children as they build.

"There is no limit to what they build," she said. "We let them grow and come up with their own innovative ideas."

Kerr's philosophy aligns with the message of The Lego Movie which encouraged children to use creativity and to think outside the box.

Squiggle aims to teach children problem solving and critical thinking through the Young Engineers programme, which provides opportunities to set them up for their future.

The Young Engineers programme was developed by E2, an Israeli company, which focuses on edutainment, a method which combines entertainment and education.

The programme was in full swing yesterday at Toku Mapihi Maurea School in Silverdale, Hamilton, as children built conveyor belts. They were taught about pulley transmissions and potential and kinetic energy.

However, building with Lego is not only fun or a way to encourage creativity, but a way to teach important educational aspects.

Kerr said problem solving, critical thinking and mathematical skills would be needed throughout life.

One of the best things about the Young Engineers programme was that pupils were learning through play, she said. "This approach to education means children don't even realise they are learning."

For example, children counting blocks were using basic maths such as addition, subtraction and multiplication, she said.

"Children are showing interest in subjects that they wouldn't normally be engaged in. Teachers were coming up to me, surprised, as there were students who usually do not get involved that were fully engaged.

"It is all about the best we can do for our kids, the ability to to give them access to the opportunities that are out there," Kerr said.

"It is all about the children." Emma Taylor is a Massey University journalism student.

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- Waikato Times

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