Nearly a thousand Lego lovers gathered at the Flint Institute of Arts (FIA) Saturday to watch smart kids prepare for thier engineering careers by playing with colorful, connectible plastic blocks.
The third annual Create a Masterpiece Lego Event showcased a live Lego building battle between students from the area's four primary institutions of higher learning: Kettering University, University of Michigan-Flint, Baker College and Mott Community College.
Team members worked quickly, quietly and efficiently to construct their models before the live audience, floating from table to table and sorting through Legos. Although students at times worked independently to build individual pieces, the process required communication and collaboration, as well.
"If we all would have built individually, there's no way we would have finished it; we had to work independently and then come together," Kettering student Mark Nogle said.
"It's a nice combination of doing your own project but still helping with other aspects. . .All of our hands were in there," said his teammate Aaron Hoffman.
Teamwork, however, wasn't the only way that the competition helped to prepare participants for their future careers in engineering.
“It has a lot to do with creativity and creative thinking, using what you have. And that’s just like engineering," noted Baker College senior Kyle Knauss. "When you’re in engineering, you have to make the most of the resources that you have, and get the job done regardless of any restrictions."
"Engineering is all about the planning behind it," said Kyle's second year teammate Alex White. "A lot of design is involved, so there's a lot of creativity required. Also being able to see the end product in your mind and get it to look that way. As engineers we're always pressed for time. Not letting the stress get to you is important."
Although all teams put together impressive models, at the end of the event, it was Jonathan Wigger and his Kettering team who came away with first place.
"It feels good. I don't know if we were expecting it," he said. We had a lot of good competition."
All photographs appear courtesy of Shane Law and the Flint Institute of Arts