February 24, 2016
Sometimes, a simple e-mail can turn into an exciting occurrence. In January, Kelley Marquis, a 4th grade teacher at Fort Kent Elementary School reached out to the University of Maine at Fort Kent's Dean of Community Education, Scott Voisine, to start planning the second Jr. LEGO League Learning Expo for students aged 6-10 which will be held in May.
The competition was held at UMFK the previous year and there was interest in expanding the event to include more students and more activities. UMFK, Valley Motors/Pelletier Motors in Fort Kent, and volunteers have jumped on board to make this upcoming event a wonderful learning activity for children.
While doing research on the LEGO Education site, Voisine found information about a free LEGO magazine subscription available to children. Voisine reached out to the New England Account Manager for Lego Education, Christina Specht, to see if the company would donate enough free magazines to give one to each child participating in the event. Specht replied almost immediately explaining the free magazines were “on the way” and at the same time, she wanted to know more about the event.
In reply to Voisine's description of the event and how an elementary school, a university, and local businesses and volunteers were coming together to make the Lego event a success, Ms. Specht replied with encouragement, excitement and with a donation of 77 Lego learning kits to be used in classrooms. The kits include hundreds of dollars of Lego blocks and classroom lesson instructions to be used with the kits. “The kids are going to be thrilled. This is such a generous donation. Learning with LEGO sparks creativity and risk-taking in the classroom that engages every kind of learner, the teachers included!” states Kelley Marquis.
The local Lego competition will be held on Thursday, May 26 at the UMFK Sports Center. In addition to the competition, a number of fun activities are planned including a matinee of the Lego Movie and students involved in the activity will get to see UMFK's 3D printer in action as it prints a LEGO block in front of their very eyes. Voisine said, “May 26, 2016 will be a LEGO day at UMFK and in our community. As a child, I loved LEGOs. I think I am looking forward to it as much as the children are.”