October 18, 2017
Growing up if you were a girl that wanted to play with LEGOs, you had to head over to the boy’s isle and find the latest Sci-Fi set. Today, LEGO is developing more gender-neutral sets and finding new ways to encourage girls to become a STEM superstar. Arriving just in time for the holidays, the LEGOs Ideas Team announced the latest set and little girls can now build an inspiring set celebrating the Women of NASA.
When science editor and writer Maia Weinstock put up her idea combining three of her personal passions: space exploration, the history of women in science and engineering, and LEGO building, she reached over 10,000 supporters-and it caught the attention of the LEGO team.
“I thought people might like to build their own display featuring minifigures of accomplished women in the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] professions. For the vignettes, I wanted to contextualize each person in terms of her contribution to NASA history.”
LEGO designers Designers Gemma Anderson and Marie Sertillanges jumped at the opportunity and designed Maia’s model into an official LEGO set.
“I was extremely excited about working on this one, especially as I had already heard of it and really wanted it to become a set,” says Gemma. “My focus was on ensuring that the model had stability, the colors were aligned and the subjects were accurately portrayed, all while staying respectful to the design of the original model.”
“The main challenge in designing the minifigures and the decorations was that I could not make anything up,” Marie said. “Every detail was important and needed to match reality, since they represent real-life women. It was beautiful to hear some of the stories behind the scenes, like how Sally’s name tag was changed from ‘Sally Ride’ to just ‘Sally’ at her own request.”
Piece by piece, kids can follow the footsteps of 4 pioneering women of NASA starting with the Hubble Space Telescope and learn astronomy with the “Mother of Hubble” Nancy Grace Roman. Kids will also learn about computer scientist Margaret Hamilton who developed the software for space missions, Sally Ride who was the first American woman to fly in space, and Mae Jemison, the world’s first woman of color in space.
Hopefully this set will be the beginning of more STEM-inspired LEGO sets that celebrate the advancement of women. I’m thinking something around the film Hidden Figures might be a good “idea.”
The set will be $24.99 and available in stores on November 1, 2017. If you are in the NYC area the set will be available at the Flatiron District LEGO Store on October 28, 2017.
Find more ideas for gifts in our Gear and Gadgets column at TechCo
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