November 2, 2010
NASA And LEGO Team Up To Inspire Children
A LEGO space shuttle headed to orbit helps mark the Tuesday signing of a Space Act Agreement between NASA and The LEGO Group to spark children's interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
To commemorate the beginning of this partnership, the small LEGO shuttle will launch with the crew of the space shuttle Discovery on its STS-133 mission, targeted to launch Wednesday, Nov. 3, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The partnership marks the beginning of a three-year agreement that will use the inspiration of NASA's space exploration missions and the appeal of the popular LEGO bricks to spur children's interest in STEM. The theme of the partnership is "Building and Exploring Our Future."
The LEGO Group will release four NASA-inspired products in their LEGO CITY line next year. The space-themed products will vary in terms of complexity, engaging audiences from young children to adult LEGO fans. Each product release will contain NASA-inspired education materials.
"Partnering with The LEGO Group is a perfect fit. We have taken the excitement of NASA's missions and coupled that with kids' love of creating things with the iconic LEGO bricks," said Leland Melvin, NASA's associate administrator for Education. "These projects not only foster creativity but also instill in the young builders a real sense of the engineering and design principles that NASA uses every day. Fun learning activities like these can help inspire kids to become the next generation of explorers."
As part of the Space Act Agreement, NASA will send special LEGO sets to the International Space Station aboard shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission in February 2011. The sets will be assembled by astronauts on-orbit and by children and student groups across the country. The construction process and activities with the sets will demonstrate the challenges faced when building things in the microgravity environment of space.
"The LEGO Group's purpose is to inspire children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future," said Stephan Turnipseed, president of LEGO Education North America. "The partnership with NASA provides us a unique opportunity to fulfill our purpose while expanding the imaginations of children around the world. A child who plays with LEGO bricks today can become the NASA astronaut or engineer of tomorrow. "
As part of the NASA-The LEGO Group partnership kick-off, a 40-feet by 70-feet activity tent will be set up Wednesday at the shuttle launch viewing site on the NASA Causeway in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Children of all ages will be invited to get creative and build their vision of the future with LEGO bricks as they await Discovery's launch. To see images of STS-133 prelaunch activities, visit: http://www.LEGOspace.com
The site has galleries featuring images of prelaunch activities and will add games and other activities leading up to the release of the complete line of LEGO Space City games, activities and products on March 1.
NASA's Office of Education in Washington seeks partnerships that help the agency promote student interest in STEM studies and careers. For more information about NASA's partnership with LEGO and other education programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education