COVENTRY TWP.: Andrew Bullock hastily assembled a 12-inch tower of wooden blocks and waited for a group of elementary students to construct a wrecking tower made of Lego pieces.
The 17-year-old Coventry High School junior then explained Newton’s Laws of Motion using video-game jargon.
“Throw a little bit of Wreck-It Ralph quotes in there and call it a day,” he said after advising the kids to test the wooden tower’s structural integrity.
Bullock expected the kids to swing the arm of the wrecking tower back and forth until his wooden tower collapsed, but a second-grader frantically smashed the two together, strewing Lego pieces and wooden blocks across a mat in the high school auditorium.
Everyone erupted in laughter.
“That’s one way to do it,” Bullock said.
Coventry educators and 24 physics students — like Bullock — came together Thursday to host the second annual Lego Convention. The objective: teach physics to elementary kids and creativity to physics students.
“For the elementary students, they look up to the high school students like they are superstars,” said Lisa Blough, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Coventry schools.
Blough spends a lot of time developing innovative ways to give Coventry students the same educational opportunities that wealthier districts enjoy.
“We cannot really afford to send our kids to places like the science museum,” Blough said amid a sea of 80 kindergartners and first- and second-graders. Each grade level wore a different-colored shirt while high school National Honor Society and physics students escorted the children from station to station. Each stop provided a new activity and a new lesson in physics.
Students explored trajectory with an Angry Birds Catapult Launcher, design in the Super Mario Bros. Mushroom Kingdom and projectile motion at the Madden NFL ’13 station. Each of the 12 stations featured Lego pieces donated by the community or borrowed from the Summit County Educational Service Center. And the high school students, each sporting a black T-shirt, provided cheap labor and a free physics lesson for the excited youngsters.
“[Donations are] how we’ve really been able to pull this whole thing off,” Blough said. “It’s really a minimal expense for us.”
The reward for high school students, like Bullock, was learning to be a kid again. For the day, he took lessons from unabashed elementary students who created unpredictable solutions to physics problems.
“I’ve been astounded,” Bullock said.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or email@example.com.