from january through may this year, ander and i participated in an after-school program put on by play-well teknologies. we had known about the company for years; diana took a homeschool class in california with her friends learning to design and build working garage door openers and elevators and arch bridges and motorized cars all out of lego pieces. when the chance came up to take a class in lego jedi engineering, ander was excited to sign up.
i think the best thing about ander's class was his teacher, mr. ian. he was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, interactive, approachable, and he connected well with the kids. most importantly for me, mr. ian worked with us to make the experiences accessible for ander in the ways that worked best for him.
after the first couple of classes, ander listened to and watched mr. ian's instructions for the new build, but then he opted to work on refining his starship designs. each one was a representation of a different ship from the star wars universe (i cannot recall what they are, but you can bet that ander knows). the other kids were pretty impressed with what ander built and asked him questions about the models. and yes, the x-wing designs had moving wings to open and close for various stages of takeroff, flight, fight, and landing. of course they did. hinge pieces rock.
it was pretty cool to see mr. ian representing his company at the homeschool conference. his bridge had a working conveyor belt.
ander asked to take the next class with a minecraft focus. that class didn't interest him as much, but he did participate in several of the builds.
those of you who are minecraft enthusiasts might appreciate ander's tree. i think it resembles the jungle tree most, which makes sense because he was supposed to build a hanging bridge high above the ground to avoid hostile mobs. he built the trunk solidly and constructed the leaves to look appropriately generated. his giant creeper is adorable. at one point, a bunch of the other kids in the class got distracted by it and decided they had to build their own. one student was having difficulty so ander gave him his own to play with.
yup, play-well. it's not just about the lego pieces, it's really how you play with them, and with others.