Lego for big kids…

Posted September 1st, 2010 by wonko

…so our punters are over Lego, in a big way, and are ready for challenges that are more real. I guess I over estimated the connection they wold feel with Lego – how quickly we forget the ages that toys are appropriate to kids.

Cybernauts will eventually be building things to solve problems, in the interim they need a challenge that exercises their builders skills, so I thought of a group building challenge – Retropolis, an ancient Roman Villa complex/compound.

Welcome to Retropolis

Welcome to Retropolis

I cleared the Lego pile (sorry kids, it was bugging me), extended the bay a little, lay down some cobbles, erected signs issuing the challenge – “Build us small a Roman town”, together. I recorded a video (you can see it playing on 3 screens as part of the welcome facade) explaining what was necessary, pointing out what was where and what they had to do. I think it makes sense – what do you think?

I then set about assembling a collection of Roman ruin bits and pieces – scaled so they fit together nicely, accessories and so on, and lay out an object yard – this saves them time searching for period-correct things.

enter the object yard

enter the object yard (don't tell them this is the same as Lego)

It occurred to me that I was assuming they had some idea of what a Roman Villa complex might look like, and i have found assumptions to be problematic at best, so decided to provide some inspiration – thank you Google I found plenty of villa-inspired plans and diagrams, of which I constructed billboards to display them.

It will be interesting to see how it develops Рscale and scope are something primary kids seem to struggle with Рthey go large before thinking about practicalities or human-scale. They think large will impress when actually detail and control are more admirable.  They see super structure and do not think through the practicailties of gravity, weather, basic physics, terrain etc Рthis is both wonderful and an issue when trying to construct something that looks convincing.

accessories galore, Persian carpet sale?

accessories galore, Persian carpet sale?

…the challenge is issued, with the proviso that untidy/un-Roman building will be demolished. How will they go? I honestly have no idea, but see nothing but potential (particularly in the light of the success of SkyCity). We shall see…

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