All Work No Play?

With snow on the mountains, what better toy to take out for a play than something ice-themed that doubles as a team-building exercise? I’m not talking about tobogganing or anything that could place limbs in any danger; At lunchtime last week my institute just got a whole lot cooler, thanks to a lego party in the lunchroom. That’s right, you read that correctly. My colleague’s lego icebreaker kit finally arrived in the post, so it was time to assemble the awesomeness of the ship, the dog sled team, the helicopter, the Arctic station, the polar bear, and the mass of satellite dishes and radio towers. Sure, my interest is in Antarctic studies, but we don’t discriminate against the other pole. Plus, if you look closely at the illustrations on the ‘Arctic’ logo, it looks suspiciously like the Antarctic Peninsula…

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This was actually my first time following instructions – when it comes to lego, anyway. Sure, we had the blocks as kids, but I was a free-range child, creating vet hospitals for the Sylvanian families or mixing it up with meccano cogs (which, you have to admit, are pretty neat). This time round there was to be no mixing, and no wanton improvisation – Arctic lego building is, as I was soon to discover, serious business. I do have to admit I was rather worried when, after carefully working through page by page, my helicopter still looked somehow wrong. It was quickly pointed out that there was actually one more page to go – the (moderately important) rotor blades were missing…
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What I lack in logical instruction-following skills I more than make up for in toy-screenplay-scenario-creation. Upon seeing a lego man on a skidoo with a blade in one hand and a camera in the other, I automatically thought of creating a miniature remake of ‘The Thing‘, complete with tomato sauce blood and gore. I mean, what else would you possibly do with such a combination of props and a maniacal lego-style grin on your face? (No? Like I said, free-range imagination…)
Anyway, we got there in the end, with sticker-masters expertly lining up the decals, advisory committees being formed to assemble the winches, and a handy gopro on hand to record the action for later use on social media (building science lego and posting it on the internet counts as science outreach, right?) Sure, the packet said ‘6-12′, but we know it wasn’t referring to an age range. 6-12 participants is obviously the optimum number of people to invite to a lunchtime Arctic lego building session! And now that the models are assembled, all that remains is to wait for the polar weather to set in proper so we can head outside for some icy action.

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