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North Clayton Middle showcases LEGO prowess

Photos by Johnny Jackson 
Victor Hernandez, 12, busily configures a time machine from blocks of legos Friday at North Clayton Middle School’s LEGO Education Showcase.

Photos by Johnny Jackson Victor Hernandez, 12, busily configures a time machine from blocks of legos Friday at North Clayton Middle School’s LEGO Education Showcase.

COLLEGE PARK — To the untrained eye, Victor Hernandez’s creation looked more like a phone booth. But it’s a “time machine” built from small, plastic blocks.

Hernandez, 12, is a sixth-grader at North Clayton Middle School. He participated Friday in the school’s LEGO Education Showcase.

He said he, like some of the other students, had never played with LEGO building blocks before.

“This is my first time,” he said. “I think it’s cool.”

The event was organized by lead science teacher Nezetta Johnson, who won a LEGOS Education Showcase grant in October.

The grant is one of 100 awards provided nationwide by the nonprofit Education Blueprints Association. It afforded Johnson $2,000 worth in LEGO building blocks.

Johnson said the showcase, “Building for the Future,” was designed to stimulate creativity and critical thinking.

Fifth-graders from surrounding schools were also invited to take part.

“We will also be celebrating the addition of new LEGO Education Space and Airport sets to the elementary curricula which will be used to enhance and expand the study of space exploration for these young learners,” said Johnson.

She said it included four sections for students to engage in hands-on activities.

Students were able to create with LEGO building blocks at one exhibit. They learned the basics in computer-aid robotics design at an adjacent station. They participated in an arts and crafts exhibit at another. And they learned how the school’s award-winning FIRST LEGO League RoboTigers robotics team developed programs for its competition robots.

“The kids enjoy the hands-on activities,” Johnson said. “I enjoy their excitement and their enthusiasm. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. With this in mind, North Clayton Middle School strives to provide an education that will prepare its students not only for the challenges of today but for the innovations of tomorrow.”

Hernandez said if he falls short of becoming a professional soccer player, he will settle for a career working with and building machines — perhaps, even a time machine.