Seeking to create fun and educational toys that teach children about real world challenges, LEGO® has undertaken initiatives in diverse areas, including food, robotics and renewable energy. This work includes a program to help familiarize young children and adolescents with the aerospace sector, for which the company has signed an accord with NASA. Known as the Space Act Agreement, it out- lines a 3 year collaboration between the toy company and the space agency to jointly promote technology, engineering and mathematics among science students, and to work on practical applications in these disciplines.
The project includes a part in which astronauts use LEGO® models and toys in the International Space Station (ISS) to demonstrate certain scientific concepts and to perform various experiments, such as observation and analysis of small machines under microgravity. These machines include LEGO® versions of satellites, a space shuttle, and a scale model of the ISS. They record their results and lm videos to help familiarize children with the work of engineers and astronauts. The models are built by the crew in orbit and also, by schoolchildren, according to their teacher’s directions.
NASA, in turn, has provided LEGO® with ideas and educational materials for the toy company’s collection LEGO® City, at different levels of complexity to suit a wide range of age from the youngest builders to adult fans. More than simply a way to foment creativity, this endeavor is also instilling in young people the design and engineering principles that NASA follows on a daily basis, and helping them to develop skills related to both of these areas.