Friday, August 31, 2007

Heart-Felt Story

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

Hey Detroit, Where's Your LEGO Car Test?

Imagine translating your childhood obsession with building LEGO cars into the real-world. It's reported that the state of Arkansas is now using a LEGO car building exercise developed by a local university in its recruiting process for autoparts workers. Maybe they're taking a page out of Google's book about looking at a person's ability to work with the brick as a testament of their candidacy.

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.

LEGO Play is Serious Work

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 Rocks Canada!

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!

LEGO Building Inspires Teachers

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

Listen Up, Nation

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!

Bugs Beware... Mindstorms is 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

LEGO Madness!

You’ve probably been reading the press about the new book for boys The Dangerous Book -- a guide book for dads as well as their sons, to recover some of the lost arts of things to do like knot-tying and making paper airplanes. When you’re done with that you can check out another “dangerous” book for grown up boys “Forbidden LEGO” I can’t wait to try out some of the projects that my mom would never have let me build when I was young.

What will the readers of Gizmodo think of next?

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!

LEGO Video of my “High School Musical” …. “Grease!!!”

All of the hype around High School Musical 2 has reminded me of my favorite “high school musical” Grease! Check out this awesome stop animation video of Summer Nights!

Monday, August 20, 2007

What's Your Favorite Thing?

I recently came across an awesome article in Newsday Magazine, about a girl that LOVES rubber ducks…"The 13-year-old from Holbrook has a collection of 271 rubber ducks in her room, more than enough to make Ernie from "Sesame Street" jealous.” She even has a LEGO Duck that she built herself!!! As I was reading this article, I was thinking to myself, I bet my family could beat that with all of our LEGO paraphernalia…and then at the bottom of the article they ask us to tell them about our favorite thing in our homes! If you think you can beat the rubber ducks story with your LEGO collection Valerie Kellogg from Newsday wants to hear about it! Check out the article and the “My Favorite Thing” story info here!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Incorporating LEGO in the Classroom

This is for all you teachers out there who want to incorporate LEGO building into their curriculum but need a place to start. Four teachers from Ohio University’s College of Education created and posted their lesson plan ideas on this site. One teacher’s lesson plan includes instructions on building greenhouse models out of LEGO bricks and an accompanying discussion on greenhouse solar energy. The goal is for the students to control the temperature inside the greenhouse using gears and sensors so a variety of plants can flourish. What a cool way to bring an environmental lesson to life for your students!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vestas "Bricking" Wind

Among the many companies who use LEGO play to illustrate and educate, Vestas, the world's leading manufacturer of wind power systems, has teamed up with the LEGO Group to creare "micro shows" that, in various ways, depict the effect of wind turbines in various scenes to promote sustainable energy in a fun and educational way. Check it out here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Innovation... the Long Tail way

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 Conference Trains Teachers to Teach with LEGOs

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.

Happy Birthday LEGO!

Did you know that the LEGO Company turned 75 this past Friday? Take a walk back in history and check out some of the coolest LEGO creations ever!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Build-Off Update

A quick follow up to last week’s post on the LEGO build off put together to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in honor of 14-year old Morgan Hall:

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

Job Hopper Gets a Big YAHOO!

We're covered him before, but the buzz continues to grow as Yahoo! Videos presents a new look at Nathan Sawaya, the corporate lawyer cum LEGO builder who left his lucrative legal work for the more creative and soul-feeding LEGO work. Check it out!

Tired of Air Guitar?

Leave it to our friends at Engadget to uncover another cool LEGO creation; a custom game controller for Guitar Hero!! You can see more pictures and other creations from its creator David M by clicking here Rock on my LEGO friends!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Robots to the Rescue

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

Ultimate Executive Toy

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

LEGO Event in Canada... Coming Soon!

Event Alert!! For anyone who's going to be in the Toronto area from Friday, August 17 through Monday, August 20 make sure to stop by the CNE to help the LEGO Canada team break the Guiness Book of World Record for the world's largest LEGO tower. Check out all the details here!