David McNeel is my hero for recently creating a fully functional Guitar Hero controller out of LEGO bricks… WOW. See more pics here…
Monday, December 31, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
Makers: All Kinds of People Making Amazing Things in Garages, Basements and Backyards was recently released and according to GeekDad, the LEGO Rubik’s Cube Solver made it into the book! I wonder if my LEGO robot could make the cut for the next book!?!
Math, Reading, Social Studies, Science, PE, History. Sound familiar? For most of us, school consisted of a set number of classes in specific subjects, with an occasional music or drama class from time to time. Not like there’s anything wrong with this. Remember, I’m a “teach” myself. If lead by skillful teachers, standard classes give children a solid foundation to approach new challenges and become thoughtful problem-solvers.
So often, however, skills that are vital for success, i.e. communication, concentration and perseverance, are proficiencies we assume will develop involuntarily. So often are these “soft” skills pushed to the wayside in school curricula. I was excited to hear that LEGO Education opened their first US LEGO Education Center in Southlake, Texas last week. All LEGO Education Center courses, taught after school hours, encourage students to develop seven essential skills (a few of those I mentioned previously), and all center activities are designed within an environment of guided exploration. You can get the whole scoop here
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently published a story on a first-time teacher who left a career in television and radio journalism to fulfill her passion for teaching children. According to the article, Jackie Flaherty is part of a growing trend of professionals entering the teaching profession as a second or third career. And wouldn’t you know? Ms. Flaherty encourages her students to build with LEGO bricks to stimulate their creativity. Read all about it here
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Oh goodness…If you come into my home you may be able to check off MOST of the signs BBSpot.com listed as the “Top Eleven Signs You Have Too Many LEGO Bricks”
Signs You Have Too Many LEGO Bricks
11. The spreadsheet you keep track of your LEGO sets on just ran out of rows.
10. You evict your kid from their room so you have somewhere to place your LEGO model of Manhattan.
9. You seriously considered doing the addition to your home in LEGO bricks.
8. You search the Internet hoping to find the "Nutrition Facts" for LEGO bricks.
7. There's a statue of you in every village in Denmark.
6. You know someone got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night because you can hear their yelps of pain as they step on LEGO bricks you left lying around.
5. Three of your nephews went into the "LEGO room" two weeks ago, and haven't returned. You have to rent a backhoe to unearth them.
4. "LEGO sets" is the largest item in the family budget.
3. Your house is targeted by DHS for having Weapons of Mass Construction.
2. It's not uncommon to bite into a piece of homemade pie and find a LEGO brick that accidentally fell in the filling.
1. Your house burns down and all that's left is a molten lake of plastic.
Look out Tarantino and Soderbergh: some unexpected moviemakers might just steal your thunder. Hot right now is brickfilm, where moviemakers use Lego parts and people to create stop-animation films. Content is just about anything, ranging from recreations of existing movies to original films to music videos. As this ABC News story points out, the actors don’t talk back…or show up late thanks to a night out partying like *some* young starlets these days. Hmmm, maybe MTV should have created a mini brickfilm to open the VMAs. Tiny, Lego Brit may have done a better job.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
For everyone who said chores can't be fun think again! Here's a great new use for your vacuum - LEGO Jousting! All you need are a few minifigures and a vacuum or two - Geek Dad used the Roomba, but my guess is that you can get this to work with any vacuum. Check out the full article here.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
It’s a LEGO-version of an Escher picture (Relativity, 1953. Lithograph) that shows off fancy SNOT building—that’s “studs not on top” for you non-avid LEGO builders out there. Click here to see the behind-the-scenes work on this build and photo session. To be inspired by some more of Andrew Lipson’s building prowess check this out!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Here’s a heart-felt story. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently published a story on Bennett Shakoske, a senior driven to beat the odds and finish high school. He had difficulty reading in the first grade and considering “giving up” until he repeated first grade with a teacher who used his love of LEGO building to instill self-confidence. According to the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University, a child who is four or five months behind a the end of the first grade has only one chance in five or six of reading at grade level in a traditional school environment. However, in Bennett’s case, just one teacher’s encouragement can impact a student’s path to success. What a cool way to spark confidence.
You can read all about Bennett here
Monday, August 27, 2007
While we're on the subject of LEGO building and car assembly, check out this wild YouTube video of a LEGO MINDSTORMS powered car assembly line that actually assembles a LEGO car piece by piece.
Who says the 9 to 5 has to be boring? And who says playing with LEGO bricks is only for kids? A growing number of companies are seeing the value that LEGO play can bring to their teams across all kinds of factors, like teamwork, communication, innovative ideation and more fun. Check out this story that talks about LEGO Serious Play -- a way to harness creative LEGO play for the benefit of offices around the world.
Learn more about Serious Play here.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Creation Nation has invaded Canada, stopping at the CNE in Toronto to encourage thousands of kids and adults to add their creativity to the efforts to break the world record for the largest LEGO Tower! And of course they did it! The tower was topped off yesterday at 29.03 meters (95 feet), beating the previous record by more than 1 meter. It will be on display until the end of the month, so be sure to check it out!
Creative LEGO play came to life this week at the Vandenberg Middle School library where faculty members participating in a brainstorm were asked to represent a more student-centered culture through LEGO bricks. Teachers used LEGO bricks to create individual representations of their ideal classrooms and their classroom community goals.
The assignment gave teachers a chance to express their creative ideas. One teacher created a “learning community” complete with ladders, a tree and a spider. He explained, “The tree is organic and growing, the way the brain works. The spider represents the gross stuff in history.”
You can read all about it here
Thursday, August 23, 2007
What office professional doesn't love Mr. Stephen Colbert? This Office Manager was backstage earlier this week for the debut of everyone's favorite lawyer cum LEGO artist, Nathan Sawaya, in the hot seat across from Stephen. Things got a little sticky as Stephen questioned the value of LEGO art, until he saw himself in life-sized 3D LEGO glory, at which point he declared he was "starting to see the value of the work now." Check it out here!
Are bugs preventing you from enjoying your summer swim? Worry no more. A family in New Zealand has just created SPIT - Swimming Pool Insect Terminator. And they created it out of Mindstorms NXT. The robot floats on the water, locates the bugs and then destroys them, making for a more peaceful summer night. Check out all of the details, including building instructions, here.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
A LEGO ipod? Yes—someone in the community has finally celebrated one design icon using bricks. While there is some friendly debate about the design quality—we still think it ‘rocks!’ Between this and the recent Guitar Hero controller, these posts are making me want to get musical!
Monday, August 20, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Mindstorms creations are making news again. Editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and author of the Long Tail, Chris Anderson spoke at last week's NI conference about the technology and how the masses can now be innovative - cheap. Mindstorms is a great example of this. Check out the story here for more details!
MSU's College of Engineering recent conference trained K-12 teachers on bringing life to the run-of-the-mill math or science lesson. The Summer Magnet and Related Training Institute showcased innovative techniques teachers can integrate into their curriculum, including building robotic fish or car from LEGO Mindstorms.
Friday, August 10, 2007
In only its second year, the build-off doubled its participation level and quadrupled its raised funds for a whopping $5,000 this year! Nice job Mandy! Watch the WDBJ 7 video clip to check out some of the awesome creations participants built! (Video link is in the left hand corner).
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Tuesday morning a giant figure washed ashore at a beach resort in Zandvoort in the northern Netherlands. Workers at a drinks stall on the beach noticed the giant figure in the water and fished him out of the sea. The making of the figure is obviously inspired by LEGO minifigures. He is 8 feet tall (2.5 meters) and on his chest it says “No real than you are”. On the back, he carries the name “Ego Leonard 9”. Nobody in the LEGO Group seems to know anything about the figure – who made him, and where did he come from? Beach guests don’t care… they are having a great time looking at him and taking pictures.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Kids at a Georgetown College summer camp are learning to save the world, one robotic command at a time. The campers learn how robots aid humans in bomb disposal, manufacturing, surgery and household chores. The lucky campers camp use LEGO Mindstorms to build high-performance products and “teach” robots to move magnets, avoid soling cloth and complete other projects under 2 ½ minutes. Read all about it here.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Check out Gizmodo's report on this life-size desk made entirely out of LEGO bricks. Just imagine the corner office with the best view, crowned with this jewel, though not sure you'd want to put your feet up on its bumpy top. Think of how creative you'd be if your desk was like this one! Office Manager says "wicked cool!"
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
I love to see programs that inspire children to expand their career choices. At IBM’s EXITE Camp, girls learn about game systems, environmental issues and computer programming though hands-on activities. The inspiration doesn’t stop the last day of camp. Campers are paired up with a female IBM mentor, and they communicate through email and in-person meetings throughout the school year. One of the mentors mentioned, “When they walk out Friday, they have a whole new light bulb in their heads.” What a great way to build confidence in 11 and 12-year-old students.
You can check out the article here.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Eighteen year-old, Mandy Matherly, is putting on the second annual LEGO Build-Off Fundraiser at the Institute of Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia on Saturday, August 4th! She is putting this on to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in honor of her 14-year-old friend, Morgan Hall, who suffers from the most acute form of muscular dystrophy.
If you are looking for something worthwhile and meaningful to do with your kids this summer find out how to get involved in the build-off here!
Donna M. Carroll offers some great advice on finding the best toys for kids. Although there are no “right” toys parents can take comfort in the fact that there are “countless classic toys, as well as re-inventions of classics that entertain kids as they help them meet their developmental needs.” She explains that “the best toys are those that allow the child to make things happen, rather than watching what the toy can do.”
Not only does Carroll say LEGO sets are great for pre-school aged kids, but for school aged kids 6-12 years old too! She says those are the years when kids begin picking up serious hobbies and suggests “construction toys such as complex Lego sets” as one of the many toys to buy for this age group. I wonder what Community Watchdog & Gen Xer reader’s have to say about this?!
To check out the rest of Donna Carroll’s suggestions check out the Craig Daily Press article here!
Talk about star power! It appears, at least from the dish at ParentDish, that the newly arrived Beckham family purchased some LEGO bricks as part of their recent Toys R US shopping spree. We hope that Romeo, Brooklyn and Cruz don’t leave any of their masterpieces on the floor to trip up Mom and Dad. Welcome to America Beckhams!!
Check it out
Monday, July 23, 2007
In the July 30 issue of TIME magazine, while responding to reader questions, the father of video games, Shigeru Miyamoto, supports the importance of being creative as a child.
When asked "What advice do you have for aspiring video game designers?" he says: "The most important thing is to create--when I was young, I made comics and puppets. Then take those creations and show them to people so you get feedback. Whether it is positive feedback or even if they make fun of it, repeating that process is a good thing for being prepared to make games."
Wonder if Miyamoto ever built with LEGO bricks?
If you haven’t already been inspired by some of the stop-animation videos on YouTube or by Michel Gondry’s famous White Stripes video here’s your chance to strut your musical stuff in a stop animation video contest. Washington, DC-based No Second Troy just announced a contest for their fans to help make a video for their debut single. Check it out here
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Check out the video:
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Why is Lohre doing this?
"Art has to advance somehow - it always does," Lohre said. "It doesn't have to be with camel hair, it doesn't have to be with a wooden handle - it can be with a sophisticated machine that creates images."
Read more here to see how the robot works!
Friday, July 13, 2007
Foxy Ivanka Trump is in the news this week for saying there’s “zero chance” she’ll replace Rosie on The View, opting instead for her “sexy projects” around the world (as she told Ryan S. at E! News). One of Ivanka’s original “sexy projects”? Trump Tower out of LEGO bricks. According to an interview last month with the New York Post, Ivanka presented the colorful version of the tower to Daddy and he told her that it was architecturally inaccurate: “there are five setbacks in the façade of the Trump Tower, not six."
Very un-sexy, Donald.
Yes I do. I admit it. TechnoKids is a new summer program at Stark State College of Technology where students learn the fundamentals of engineering in a class called LEGO Engineering. What’s cool about this class is it gives kids a tangible model to work with when solving abstract problems. It’s true. Kids absorb information a lot faster and retain the information longer when they’re involved with the process and can visualize the solution. What a great way of approaching a question like, “This axle is spinning how many times faster than this one?”
You can read all about it here.