LEGO Education Models go into Orbit with Space Shuttle Endeavor
The LEGO Group and NASA partner to inspire children and encourage 21st Century learning.
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Apr 28, 2011

NASA Associate Administrator for Education and astronaut Leland Melvin, right, works with a young child at a "Build the Future" event sponsored by LEGO Education at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex, Wednesday, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Credit: NASA, Paul E. Alers.)

LEGO Education, a division of the company that makes the popular Mindstorms line of robots, announced it will send 13 LEGO Education models to the International Space Station (ISS) on board the Space Shuttle Endeavor on April 29. The models will be used in eight educational activities that will be conducted by the ISS crew and available to educators across the nation to utilize in classroom curricula. The LEGO Bricks in Space project is part of a joint outreach and educational program developed as part of the partnership between NASA and the LEGO Group to inspire children to explore science, technology, engineering, and math.

Onboard the ISS, the astronauts will explore the effects of microgravity on simple machines by building models, conducting experiments, and sharing those results with students and teachers back on Earth through video and crew commentary. Each activity will have a downloadable teacher’s guide and student worksheet so that the same activities can be conducted by students on Earth and the results compared and contrasted.

“21st Century learning is about providing children with opportunities to experiment with their  surroundings, not just sit in desks,” said Stephan Turnipseed, president of LEGO Education North America. “We know students learn better by doing.”

The in-class portion of the LEGO Bricks in Space project will be available to educators starting in September. A web site is currently available offering information about four of the activities and their educational value to teachers. The site also houses a number of downloads, video links, a LEGOnaut game, and various facts about space exploration.

The LEGO Bricks in Space project also encompasses models from the LEGO CITY Space Port line with corresponding activities such as a custom LEGO tour of the space shuttle and International Space Station. The LEGO CITY Space Port activities will also be available on the project web site later this fall.

To celebrate the launch of the shuttle and the joint educational program using LEGO models in space, LEGO Education and NASA is hosting a “Build the Future” event at the Kennedy Space Center’s Visitors Complex through Friday, April 29. The building event will offer nearly 10,000 children (over the course of four days) the opportunity to create and build space related projects using LEGOs.


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