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Lego course teaches kids engineering, design, and gear ratios

Legos aren't just for fun. Teachers of elementary to junior high school students in Alabama are using the stackable blocks to build kids' knowledge of engineering principles. 


In this file photo, 6th grade students test their robotic vehicle, built with Legos, then calculate the needed stats on the nearby computer.

John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor/File

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In an almost inevitable chain of events, cars, conveyor belts, and other contraptions came to be in a classroom full of children and Legos at Shelton State Community College on Tuesday.

"I don't know a kid who doesn't love Legos," said Shannon Camper, director of Community Education and Lifelong Learning at Shelton State.

The contraptions are part of the Lego Engineering 2013 program at Shelton State's Kidz Kollege, a series of classes for elementary, middle, and junior high school students that uses the toy as a way to build interest in science and mathematics.


"I think that this is going to get on their level with something they love," Camper said.

This summer is the first year for the Lego courses at Shelton State. While the Kidz Kollege has traditionally offered math classes such as algebra and geometry, it has lacked a science component before the addition of Lego Engineering, Camper said.

"The one thing I feel like we have been missing during the last seven years I have been directing is science," Camper said.

The program, which began Monday, has 112 students enrolled, Camper said. The program costs $155 per week, which includes four three-hour classes.


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