TAMPA — Elementary and middle school students didn’t have classes Saturday, but they did some learning.
About 100 students from throughout the Tampa Bay area were at Carrollwood Day School for the first Brickmania event, a Lego-themed festival meant to promote science and technology education.
They made contraptions out of marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti noodles, raced Lego cars, learned about computer coding from Microsoft employees and competed in a Lego-building competition.
“I just think STEM education is really important,” said Jennifer Weinman, organizer of the event and a parent at Carrollwood Day School. “The more our kids have exposure, they’ll know there are more things out there that they can do.”
Weinman put on Brickmania events for five years in South Florida before her family moved to Tampa, she said. After more than a year of planning, she was able to set one up here.
“So far it’s been great,” Weinman said.
The University of South Florida, The Florida Aquarium and the Florida Farm Bureau were among local businesses that set up booths for the two-hour event. Children in kindergarten through eighth grade were invited to submit a themed Lego project in a building competition judged at the end of the afternoon.
Cheryl Harshbarger brought her son, Peter, a sixth-grader at Carrollwood Day.
“Anything Lego-involved, he wants to be a part of it,” she said as her son explored a robotics booth.
But it’s more than just fun with Legos, said Jennifer Daggy, who also brought her children. STEM education is important to her family.
“We love things like this,” she said. “It just gets kids so excited about all the opportunities they have.”