As a little girl in Sparta, New Jersey, Stacia Jackson, SPA/BA ’08, CAS/MEd ’14, preferred playing Barbies to building a Lego dream house. But now, as educational content manager at Lego Education in Billund, Denmark—and mom to two-year-old master builder, Lachlan—she is making up for lost time.
“There are hundreds of bricks all over my apartment,” she laughs.
Jackson’s not alone. There are about 80 Lego bricks for every person on earth. Seven Lego sets are sold every second (that figure jumps to 28 during the holiday season), and kids around the globe spend 5 billion hours a year playing with them.
At their core, the plastic bricks, which can withstand 953 pounds of force—hence the excruciating pain when you step on one—“are a personal expression of how you work with open-ended materials,” Jackson says. “You might follow the building instructions, or you might start to iterate and create something all your own. With Lego, there’s no right or wrong answer.”
And with about 3,700 unique bricks in production, the possibilities are endless.
Jackson joined Lego Education last September. She works with engineers, designers, and marketers to develop content and craft curriculum “to broaden kids’ understanding, confidence, and curiosity in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).” Each year, Lego Education partners with schools around the world to get bricks into the hands of primary and secondary students.
“Kids might build a frog out of Lego, then code it to move,” Jackson says. Students exercise both sides of their brains, building technical skills while nurturing creative problem solving—all while having more fun than the new, 2,287-piece Stranger Things building kit. (It flips between the real world and the Upside Down!)
“The thing about Lego is that, whether you’re a young child or an adult, the minute you have them in your hand, you have to play with them,” she says.