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Out With Kids: Lego robotics class at Village Books mixes fun, science

Take playtime into the sci-fi realm with a robotics workshop that allows participants to build an item with Lego bricks, power it with a simple motor, and control it with computer commands.

Kimberly Gustafson of Bricks & Beyond offers the program from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 1, in the readings gallery at Village Books, 1200 11th St.

Co-sponsored by Launching Success Learning Store, the event is aimed at first- through fifth-graders and teaches how to use computer programs to remotely control a Lego brick creation. Each child will create a story based on their robot and will receive a few Lego bricks to keep.

“It gives kids the freedom to learn and to expand their knowledge without fear of failure,” Gustafson said. “There’s no wrong answer. A pig can be purple or brown in Legos. It’s trial and error: You learn by doing in Legos.”

Working on the robotic project translates to physics, engineering and the operation of simple machine. Students practice teamwork, collaboration and communication skills, she said.

Appropriately, the trademarked word “Lego” is a portmanteau of the Danish phrase “leg godt,” meaning “play well.”

“On the technical side, it’s teaching them code-sequencing and numbers,” Gustafson said.

Bricks and Beyond also offers extended summer camps and robotics workshops. For the Village Books program, Gustafson uses a shorter format like the ones she uses for birthday parties and single-day classes. She doesn’t want to overwhelm the children with information.

“I’m truly stretching their little brains,” she said.