The sparkle in the eye.
The one that causes you to stop blinking or perhaps blink a bit faster than normal.
That moment when you or a kid or a pack of them are walking at that kid pace and strut doing their thing. You know what I am talking about. When they are mindless of everything around them until now.
When one stops. Points. Walks a bit slower to the destination.
And then they stop. Facial expressions freeze. Movement ceases. Talk is nil.
The ultimate mannequin challenge created by disbelief of what their eyes are perceiving. The fact registers that what they think is impossible is possible.
That moment when the light bulb not only turns on, but shatters. New barriers have been created and formed.
The smile forms and the questions start flooding the brain. Pictures and video are taken to capture and prove what they are witnessing.
This is what I have been fortunate enough to experience time and time again while being with LEGO Education during the FIRST World Championships in Houston, Texas. Hundreds of teams from all over the world are here to compete and do their best job with the robots and research they have been working on for months on end.
Their ideas are crazy and amazing. They are more than what we often give kids credit for in a regular day. These kids are driven with a passion for learning. I was reignited in my belief in the spirit of a child. A child that ranges all the way to the teenage years. These kids are driven. They want to learn. They want to prove the world wrong by showcasing how powerful they can be when they work together as a team to make a vision a reality.
It is easy to knock the systems of education. It is easy to bash education. It is simple to find test scores and point fingers. It is easy for educators to blame kids and say they don’t care.
These are negatives and stereotypes that don’t fit. I know this because I just hung out with 20,000 kids that are the complete opposite. FIRST World Championship is full of excitement for learning and engagement in STEM. It is the mecca for showcasing how amazing kids are when you provide them an opportunity to pursue something they love.
The same moment kids have when they see the work of Master Lee Magpili dragon and eagle is the same moment I am having when I see the robots and the work of the kids in their pits and in the arenas.
FIRST not only inspires youth, but has inspired me to see what is possible. The journey has only started. It is time to bend reality for the kids I work with on a daily basis and it is all because of this opportunity.