Building STEM Skills with Blocks
September 23rd, 2014
by Katrina Brooke
“I didn’t even know I was learning,” writes Dan Feil, a Connect reader.
“I am not suggesting that I had an underprivileged childhood. I simply had few toys. One that I remember vividly is my set of wooden blocks. I recall handling my blocks and thinking: two squares make a rectangle, two rectangles make the big one, and so do four of the squares…I was learning geometric shapes and relationships, and didn’t even know it. By the time fractions were formally introduced to me in school, I had a tactile, concrete sense of what abstract numbers stood for.
“My unit block set also gave me a quantitative spatial sense. I built walls. I built houses. I learned which blocks were good for long spans. I learned how much support the spanning blocks needed. I loved the heft of the blocks. I loved the smooth, cool surfaces and the rounded edges.
“So it should not surprise you that I became an architect. I cannot say for certain that I did so because of my unit block play. But that play certainly brought out the facets of who I was, at an early age, which eventually lead me to my life-long professional career.”
Let’s raise more architects! For a great staff training resource on the importance of block play, watch our Foundations video.