Celebrating The SOMA District at the Bluxome Street Fair

We were at the Bluxome Street Fair celebrating the South of Market District of San Francisco with families.

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

We Built Austin Out of LEGO® at SXSWedu

During SXSWedu, we help create a LEGO version of the City of Austin with the help of teachers, school administrators, and students.

We started with one building and watch the evolution throughout the event.

 

A high school band even came by.

Celebrating International LEGO Day At Austin Public Library

On Sunday, January 28th, 2017, we will be celebrating International LEGO Day with families at Austin Central Library.  Families have the opportunity to build the city of Austin out of 40,000 LEGO Pieces.

Location: Austin Library Special Event Center, First Floor, 710 W. César Chávez St., Austin, TX

Time: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Click HERE for more details.

Here is our last City Build in Austin, TX.

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.

AWS Attendees Built The Longest LEGO GBC Build Ever Done In The City Las Vegas

At AWS re:Invent 2017, we helped AWS attendees build the longest LEGO Great Ball Contraption ever done in the city of Las Vegas.  It was made up of 84 individual modules and contained over 48,000 LEGO® pieces.  We also provided a Pinewood Derby Track, where attendees could race LEGO® vehicles for prizes.  Check out what they created:

Here is the entire LEGO GBC Run

Pinewood Derby with LEGO® Materials