by Toan Dao
I was originally assigned to work in the school playground today but was reassigned to help out the Lego robotics class. I was paired up with my daughter, Ylan, for the first class to mentor three 3rd graders. After a few minutes of instructions on robotics, programming, and Lego constructions from Amanda, our instructors, it’s time for the hands-on crocodile robot building.
The three little girls quickly became quite adept at using the mouse and laptop but struggled mightily to construct the Legos using only one hand. Seeing their difficulties with the Legos, I indicated it’s easier to use two hands. To which they politely nodded in acknowledgment but continued using only one hand. Thinking I was not clear enough with the instructions, I asked that they follow my lead—take one piece of Lego with your left hand, take another piece with the second hand. Reluctantly, each girl, one by one, would pulled their other hand out of their pocket still clutching tightly to the tennis ball given to them earlier for fear of losing it. They only agreed to place the tennis balls on the table after assurance that replacements would be provided. Even so, I still see their hands dart across the table to grab at the tennis balls at any slight movement.
Seeing how the children cherish something that many of us wouldn’t even have second thoughts if encountered at home certainly gives me a new perspective.