Our Jewish Programs
The Jewish History Construction Series using LEGO building blocks is a hands on activity for children, parents and grandparents. Under the direction of Stephen W. Schwartz AIA, Architect of SWS Architects in Livingston, NJ, the participants are guided through a collective effort to build a huge scale model of one of the selected building projects. The projects are intended for children 8 and older, however, inter-generational when done with participating parents the children can be as young as 5. The Architect brings approximately 70,000 LEGO building pieces together with a huge scale drawing of the selected project.
The program consists of a 10 minute lecture on the subject topic, and approximately one and one half (1½) hours of actual LEGO construction, followed by a an in depth tour of the completed model with the children for 20 minutes. We try to keep the program as close to two hours as possible to maintain the children’s attention and to fit exactly into a typical school session.
The educational value is exceptional and has been hailed by educators as a meaningful way to teach, have fun, and retain the knowledge it is what we call a “Jewish Learning Experience”. The visual impact of building a “bigger than life” model and the “hands on” work with LEGO blocks creates the kind of intensity that clearly makes learning fun for the children. The Architect’s drawings range in size up to 20 feet by 32 feet depending on the project.
The participants can be both “builders” and “observers”. The actual builders can number as many as 150 participants. It is especially rewarding to see children, parents, and grandparents all working together with one of the most popular toys of all time and that is LEGO. We carefully orchestrate the entire construction so that at the end of the 2 hours there is a totally built model. Yes, everyone is astounded that the project actually is completed because during the intense building process each little group is working on their individual section. It has never failed that the project is complete and everyone is absolutely in awe that they were able to accomplish so much in such a short period of time by working together as a “team”.
During the actual construction, all of the “builders” should wear comfortable clothes such as jeans or other loose pants because you will be working on the floor. No shoes are allowed on the drawing so you must wear socks. (No bare feet please). Athletic socks are suggested. We can tell you that the observers enjoy the project as much as the participants, and they can take the pictures and video. Teachers are encouraged to develop pre and post program activities in conjunction with the LEGO presentations.