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July 22, 2024
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Building Blocks
Produced by: Judith Kampfner
Several years ago at Long Creek juvenile detention center in Maine, one MIT professor revolutionized the existing school system. He instituted a learning-by-doing program where young offenders spend their day using Legos to build programmable robots - clocks, vehicles and moving fantasy figures. Teens photograph their creations and write diaries proudly chronicling their progress. Can incarcerated youth gain important skills and confidence from such a program or should they be learning discipline in a conventional schoolroom? Producer Judith Kampfner takes us inside the classroom to find out. This program is part of our ongoing series on education and technology.

Program Credits

Building Blocks was produced by Judith Kampfner, with production assistance from David Tamarkin. The show was mixed by Jared Weissbrot. This program airs as part of our series on Technology and Education, produced with support from the US Department of Education.


Mentoring and Tutoring at Long Creek
Find out how to volunteer at the Long Creek Youth Development Center through the United Way.

Lego Mindstorms
On the Lego Mindstorms website, inventors can share their creations and participate in online forums.

Dr. Seymour Papert
Dr. Seymour Papert's home page including publications and links to other projects.

The website of one of the world's best selling toys.

Preventing and Reducing Juvenile Delinquency: A Comprehensive Framework
by: James C. Howell 2003
An exploration of the juvenile justice system and alternate methods of rehabilitation.

Building Robots with LEGO Mindstorms
by: Mario Ferrari, Giulio Ferrari, Ralph Hempel 2001
Try your hand at creating robots with Lego Mindstorms!

Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas
by: Seymour Papert 1999
This book marked the beginning of the classroom

Ultimate Lego Book: Discover the Lego Universe
by: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Foreword by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen 1999
This guide to Lego land shows how amazing models and structures can be built brick by brick. The book also includes a history of the Lego Company.

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Programs by Judith Kampfner

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