I was thrilled to get an email from Ariel Sanabria (Class 1 Teacher at The Brearley School) inviting me to join a LEGO Serious Play workshop facilitated and designed by Heidi Brant. Heidi is a Serious Play Pro, and this morning, the Class 1 teaching team explored independently and collaboratively for 90-minutes under Heidi’s guidance. Each exercise consisted of the following 4 steps: Challenge, Build, Share, Reflect.
We were presented with a variety of LEGO pieces in individual ziploc bags. Our first Challenge was to create a tower that started with a black flat as the base, consisted only of green and yellow pieces, and had a flag at the top. Being me, I misheard Heidi and thought she said we should top our tower with a flat, and as I was absorbed in the task and didn’t look up, I carefully reserved my yellow flat pieces to top my structure (unlike everyone else who had a flag topper). This Build time was paired with Heidi’s curated musical choices playing in the background, and then we were asked to hold our structures in our hands and Share our designs. After everyone had a chance to speak, we had additional time to Reflect on the experience. These days, I’m finding it a more comfortable challenge to be creative with constraints rather than without constraints. Total freedom can feel almost paralyzing…
The second challenge was to build a structure which represented our frame of mind. Many of us had thoughts of summer vacation on the brain (coincidence?), and my neighbor and I both built beds. Using LEGOs to explain something intangible seems very accessible and similar to asking someone to tell a story, draw a picture, write a poem, etc. to illustrate inside thoughts/feelings.
As Class 1 studies structures and NYC landmarks, the third challenge was to choose a landmark and represent its personality as a LEGO design. I chose The High Line Park and tried to convey how it’s flexible, ever-evolving, generous with its offerings, and constantly on display and watched by all the visitors. Among other insightful and creative designs and explanations, my neighbor had a really interesting take on the Flat Iron Building.
The fourth challenge was to work in groups to construct and name a new landmark which incorporated a component from each of our individual designs. There were 8 of us, so we formed two groups of 4. My group included moving/flexible parts from my High Line interpretation, secret nooks from the teacher who created Grand Central Station, symmetry from the Chrysler Building, and happy colors from the teacher who constructed the personality of her parents’ backyard. We decided on a maze-like design for our group-building exercise which included these four elements.
Here are additional images from the workshop: