I’ve always dreamed of combining my passions of STEAM and traveling. I was born in South America and came to the United States to learn English. As a child, I often traveled with my family and learned to become a world citizen very young. I’ve had the honor to work in K-12 education for the last eleven years. However, I never thought that something as wild as playing with Legos in Paris would be an opportunity for me to explore. I want to share my journey to Paris and what’s to come.
We can all remember the experiences Legos have offered us, the opportunity to design whatever our imagination would give us with our hands. Legos have taught us to think outside the box and problem-solve with creativity. They’ve also taught us patience when things don’t come out as we hope. As an educator, I’ve coached several STEAM clubs. I’ve been at the First Lego League competitions when my students and I have encountered technical problems and missing pieces minutes before heading out. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from these experiences and grow while under pressure.
This summer, I was asked to lead several robotic lego summer camps in the magical city of Paris with Play Well. It was an absolute dream to bring my magic of STEAM with Ysa to Paris! I played with Legos in the mornings, had lunch with my students by the Eiffel Tower, and explored one of the most incredible cities in the world in the evenings.
Bringing my magic of engineering and design thinking to schools worldwide has taught me more than I could ever dream of. Here are two age groups workshops and what I learned.
Tiny Builders (ages 3-4): My tiny engineers were my favorite because their creativity had no limits. The class began by showing the end project to the learners (one was a simple car) and allowing them to play with the toy. Then, each builder received the materials to create their own design out of Legos. Finally, the last 10-15 minutes of the class were set aside for experimenting. Students added more to the original end product and we tested out the model.
Lesson: Your creativity and imagination have no limits, be fearless and have fun.
Upper School Builders (ages 7-9): My older students were also shown the end project at the very beginning. Strategically, they were asked to watch a short tutorial describing the design, and then they were left to make it. It was incredible to see them collaborate with one another. They then received 20minutes to add any extra magic to their design and experimenting. During the this time learned added their own style to the end product. My favorite memory was creating a train platform.
— Ysabel Ortiz 👩🏻💻 (@STEAMwithYsa) July 5, 2022
Lesson: We naturally want to collaborate to make this world a better place.
The lessons STEAM and my students have taught me will continue to improve my life for years to come. Let’s connect and share our love for traveling and STEAM
Until next time, don’t forget to imagine, create and have fun.