Flutterby™! : Building from Legos

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Building from Legos

2011-05-05 18:13:45.730538+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Yesterday I stumbled across this video of casting a bronze sword, via MeFi, and had a little bit of an epiphany.

The school I grew up in had the philosophy that the only thing an intelligent child can do with a complete toy is to disassemble it. My nephews, who recently stayed with me, have a decent dose of Waldorf in their upbringing, and I was impressed by their ability to enjoy abstract toys. Even if I did cringe inside when they took the gorgeous hardwood we were making trucks with and said "mommy can paint this really well", because she can, but, you know: hardwood!

And on Sunday afternoon, my Dad and I disassembled the first boat that my team had built for the practice session for the competition. I've promised to help one of our Family Connection kids build a boat this summer, and after we'd removed all the screws and busted apart the glue seams, I thought: why don't I just take these parts, buy a little fiberglass tape, and we can build the boat that way?

I guess my realization was: What's the matter with building things from LEGO bricks? It helps to understand where materials and processes come from, but at some point in getting bogged down in making bronze swords from scratch, as cool as that is, we lose the abstraction that makes it possible to build bigger cooler stuff.

And that leads me to thinking that maybe we'll put off the "learning to cut plywood with a bevel using a Japanese pull saw" off a few years, and replace that with "learning to slap some resin and fiberglass on a joint to reinforce it, and using a respirator and a sander to clean it up", at least for now.

[ related topics: Drugs Children and growing up Interactive Drama Movies Sociology Lego Mindstorms Boats Machinery Fabrication Education Video Philosophy Woodworking ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-05-05 20:53:01.787855+00 by: other_todd

Two thoughts:

  1. Appreciation of good unpainted hardwood is a specialized vice acquired by people in adulthood, and sometimes not even then, like drinking Scotch.
  2. LEGO, ideally, is the way that children learn the value of a rapid prototyping tool.