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Lego event aimed at building leaders



Besides being fun, playing with Legos also can be a learning and challenging experience that might pave the way for a career in engineering.

Blacksburg Children’s Museum is transforming itself into a Lego Game Show arena from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday for children to compete in Lego building projects and get some first-hand accounts on the engineering field.

At the end of the program participants will receive a lesson from Virginia Tech’s EcoCAR 3 VT hybrid electric vehicle team.

Admission is free for Blacksburg Children’s Museum members and $5 for nonmembers. The nonprofit museum is in First and Main Shopping Center, 1470 S. Main St., Suite 106, Blacksburg.

At the start of the event, participants will be provided with a limited array of Lego blocks. They’ll then have a specific amount of time to build whatever they desire, either alone or with the help of a parent or EcoCAR 3 VT team member.

After participants have a chance to demonstrate their creations, EcoCAR 3 VT members will provide the children with a lesson on engineering principals and discuss the EcoCAR 3 competition in which the Virginia Tech team is participating.

EcoCAR 3 is a competition sponsored by the Department of Energy and General Motors in which 16 universities each transform a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid electric vehicle. A goal is to educate the public on the importance of STEAM [science, technology, engineering, art and math].

“Building with Lego blocks … creates a safe space for children to try new techniques and ideas. Having engineering students on hand to answer questions and provide words of encouragement helps to ensure that the kids have a positive experience,” states a press release from Sara Lepley of vt.edu.

“Engineers are basically little kids, we just have bigger toys,” said Ha Nguyen, an EcoCAR 3 VT team member, who has participated in past EcoCAR 3 VT youth outreach events.

This fall, the team also participated in youth outreach a the Blacksburg Children’s Museum free movie fundraiser event at Claytor Lake.



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