I mentioned earlier this summer that my daughter attended her first LEGO®-Inspired Engineering Camp with Play-Well TEKnologies. She was the only girl in the class and as much as I worried about her feeling comfortable through the program, she came out with flying colors. The purpose of the camp is to develop and enhance students’ problem solving and critical thinking skills with a focus on building techniques.
Step 1 – the kids roll dice to determine how many of each resource they are allowed to have.
Step 2 – Based on the resources they were allotted, the kids choose between several blueprints they can build.
Step 3 – They build the architecture with LEGOs.
I was totally impressed by the amount of critical thinking involved in the process. She actually learned a lot, but was having too much fun to even really know it.
The Play Well Summer Camp programs are week-long from 9am-12 and the students typically work on 2 different engineering and architectural projects per day. Projects typically start with an introduction and short presentation by the instructor followed by a design/building assignment. Students have access to approximately 100,000 pieces of LEGO materials to use in creating their engineering projects.
Students are introduced to engineering terminology that they are encourage to use throughout the class when identifying pieces, posing questions, or assisting each other. Instructors circulate and assist the children in realizing their project goals.
When the participants have satisfied basic requirements of a project, they are encouraged to further explore engineering applications of the principles and construction methods by inspecting, testing, modifying, and rebuilding. At the end of each class session, students are expected to dismantle their projects and put away their materials.
Here are some of the concepts covered in Play Well Engineering Camp:
1st, 2nd, 3rd Class Levers
Motors, batteries, leads
Compound gear trains
Crown gears / bevel gears
Pneumatics and pumps
Cams and clutch gears
Gear drives, torque, speed
Rack and pinion steering
Belt drive transmissions
Worm gear drives
Moment of inertia
Friction and Gravity
Play-Well is now in over 2000 locations nationwide in 27 states. Visit the website for more information or to find a location near you.