What Happens When Compassion Meets Competition?

Guest Blog Post from Sara Schairer of CompassionIt.

Originally posted here: https://compassionit.com/2018/06/06/what-happens-when-compassion-meets-competition/

I teamed up with Gary Ware of Breakthrough Play and Jeff Harry of Play-Well TEKnologies for Global School Playday on February 7, 2018. We led a compassion- and play-focused experiment for High Tech High School 10th graders, because we were curious about the question,

What happens when compassion meets competition?

We each led students through 45-minute workshops. I focused on cultivating compassion, and during Gary’s workshop, students used improv and play to practice empathy, listening, and team-building.

Jeff led the final workshop. He loaded 10 tables with Legos, and he labeled each table as a different country. Some of the tables represented low-income nations, and some represented high-income nations.

The students formed teams and picked their tables. Jeff gave them written instructions, and he told them to “produce as much food as you can.” The students built conveyor belts out of Legos and then created “food” out of Lego bricks. When the food reached the end of the conveyor belts, students would collect it and stack it on their nations in the middle of the room.

What the students didn’t know is that the low-income countries weren’t given enough resources to complete the task. Some of them were missing parts to their conveyor belts, and others didn’t have enough bricks to create food.

The wealthier nations, however, had more than enough Legos.

The high-income nations like the United States and Canada began producing large amounts of food right off the bat. At the same time, the developing nations clearly struggled. For example, the Dominican Republic students were left to fend for themselves despite asking for help from other nations. The students eventually gave up and sat back feeling frustrated and dejected.

When time was up, we took time to debrief with the students. Jeff asked, “What was the assignment I gave you?”

The students replied, “To produce as much food as we could for our nation.”

Jeff shook his head and said, “No. I asked you to produce as much food as you could. I didn’t say it was for your country. Do you think you produced as much as you could since several countries didn’t produce any food?”

The students looked sheepish as they realized they had incorrectly assumed this was a competition. I asked the United States team if they shared Legos with any other nations.

“No,” one student replied.

His group had received several requests for help, so I inquired, “Why not?”

“Because we’re ‘merica,” he said.

Each student wore a wristband with the words “Compassion It” on it.  Despite the visual reminder and two workshops that primed them in compassion, most students ignored requests for help.

I’m happy to report that we did find some outliers. A few students went out of their way to deliver Legos to those who needed them.

What’s my takeaway from this? When we’re involved in a perceived competition, we seem to ignore the needs of others.  Compassion takes a back seat when we want to win.

Our society makes competition a part of everyday life, from athletics to our careers. We prioritize a winning mindset over a compassionate mindset, and that’s what we pass down to our children.

So what can we do about it? We can start by including sportsmanship and compassion when we compete.

We should also teach our youth that life is not a zero-sum game. When we help each other, everyone wins.

Want to cultivate compassion within and also support Compassion It’s efforts to make our world more compassionate? Be a Compassion It Advocate! Learn more.

Celebrating Mom Through Play

Every year, Mother’s Day comes around and a few days before many of us scramble to get her the perfect gift at the last minute.

This year, we are encouraging our Play-Well students to plan ahead and through play, create an amazing gift for your mom that she will truly cherish.

We have provided below ideas and tutorials on a few gifts that you can build out of LEGO® materials.  And if you need an added incentive to start building now, if you share what you are able to make with us, you could receive a LEGO® gift for your efforts.

Feel free to share your creations via one of our channels:

Check out the projects below for ideas:

A LEGOLAND Master Model Builder shows you how to make the perfect picture frame.

Here are some helpful LEGO® creations you can make to help around the house from Householder Hacker.

Layla Mom Created This Amazing Photo Pen Holder

Little Bins For Little Hands created this cute LEGO Candy Box

PRESS ADVISORY: Building The City of Anthem out of 40,000 LEGO® Pieces

On Saturday March 10th, 2018, Play-Well TEKnologies is offering a free and kid friendly, city of Anthem LEGO® build at the Caurus Academy! Families will build the city of Anthem out of 40,000 LEGO® Bricks! Kids can construct the Adventure Playground, Daisy Mountain, their own home, school and favorite park all out of LEGO®. Students will explore hands on architecture through learning about overlapping and how buildings are so strong! All LEGO® materials will be provided by Play-Well.  For safety, all kids need to bring an adult.

Families will get the opportunity to build the city of Anthem as they see it, as well as answer these questions through play:

  • What is your favorite part of Anthem?
  • How would you design your own house?
  • How would you make Anthem even better than it is now?

This is a FREE event for kids ages 5+. Only kids need tickets

Here are the details of the event:

Event: Building The City of Anthem out of 40,000 LEGO® Bricks

Location: Caurus Academy 41900 N. 42nd Ave. Anthem, AZ 85086

Date & Time: Saturday March 10th, 2018 10:00am – 1:00pm

To register for the event, please visit our Eventbrite page HERE.

Play-Well Contact: Jennifer Gaona, jennifer@play-well.org602-317-7448

Play-Well TEKnologies

Play-Well TEKnologies teaches LEGO-Inspired STEM Programs to approximately 100,000 kids/year around the U.S.  Their goal is to inspire the next generation of engineers, innovators, scientists, and inventors all through the power of play.  Kids dive into our classes and exercise their innate gift for building. They come away understanding fundamental principles of engineering and physics. The experience boosts their confidence, creativity and ability to collaborate.  For more information, visit play-well.org.

Examples of other Play-Well City Builds:

 

Celebrating 20 Years of Playing Well!

20 years ago, our founder, Tim Bowen, had an idea to introduce kids to the world of engineering through playing with LEGO®, when the concept of S.T.E.M. had not even been popularized yet. Since then, Play-Well has been lucky enough to teach over 800,000 kids. Here is the story of how a crazy idea became an engineering program for kids that now teaches over 100,000 kids a year all over the United States.

Thanks, everyone that has ever participated in a Play-Well Program.  We couldn’t have gotten here without you.

Want Us To Offer Our LEGO-Inspired STEM Program At Your School?

With the school year about the start, we wanted to share what we do in our LEGO-Inspired STEM After School Enrichment Program.  Check out what parents and kids have to say about the program and meet a some of our staff.

If you’d like us to offer an after school program at your school, simply complete our After School Enrichment Request Form Here.

Have an amazing start to the school year and remember to Play Well!

We Set A World LEGO® Record With SoulPancake

On Saturday, July 1st, 2017, we collaborated with SoulPancake’s LEGO® show, BRICK X BRICK, to set a World LEGO® Record!  Over 200 Families from all parts of the Los Angeles area came out to help build 1000 LEGO® “Origami” Cranes.  The goal was to not only set a world record but also bring the community together through play.

SoulPancake will be creating an episode for their 3rd Season of Brick By Brick with Adam Ward about this event.  Check out some of the highlights of the event below.

 

 

Creating Downtown Novato out of 40,000 LEGO® Pieces

On Saturday, May 20th, 2017, Play-Well TEKnologies collaborated with the South Novato Library and families in the community to build Novato out of 40,000 LEGO® Bricks. Families rebuilt the city of Novato, as they would like to see it. Families got to tackle these questions through play:

  • If you had the chance to design the city, how would you design it?
  • What else would you add to the city that you currently think is missing?
  • How would you make Novato even better than it is now?

Here is what they came up with.