You’d be amazed at what students from Mission Viejo Elementary can create with 100 LEGOs, a rock, a string and a piece of foil! How about a bridge, a helicopter and even a working mine?!
Those are just a few of the amazing things third-, fourth- and fifth-graders created during Mission Viejo’s 4th Annual Block Kids Competition on Feb. 4. Block Kids is an award-winning national program sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). It’s designed to introduce children to the construction industry and foster science, technology engineering and math (STEM) skills, such as creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. But the kids say it’s really just fun!
“They love it!” said Dr. Shannon McQueen, the STEM and Gifted and Talented teacher at Mission Viejo. “They ask me from the first day of school ‘When is the Block Kids competition?’"
McQueen says students are given a task, then have 45 minutes to design and build a LEGO creation to complete the task. They also have to explain to the judges what their creation is, what it does and how it relates to construction.
“It’s a great way to introduce imagination and creativity,” said McQueen, who is adding LEGO Robotics to the school’s STEM rotation this year.
This year 73 students – about half girls and half boys – participated in the competition. NAWIC professionals volunteer their time at the event and NAWIC provides all the materials and even goody bags for the students.