STEAM Build Challenge: Aquaduct

Last week we were challenged to build something from architecture.

This week, for the STEAM Build Challenge, grab what you have around the house and build something with a pirate theme! Arrg.

My roman aqueduct

The roman arch was sturdy way of building with stone but was later replaced with the catenary arch. Catenary means chain and is how the arch was designed.

Architects would suspend chains and the curve of the upside-down curve of the chain would be used as a template for how to build the right-side up version out of stone.

The catenary arch carried loads better and more evenly distributed the weight from above down into the column.

Závěsný model klenby.jpg
Credit: Antonin Ryska


Friday’s Windmills are Turning

It is that time again, S.T.E.A.M. Build Fridays!

I think it’s time we visit the animal kingdom! Grab what you have around the house and create an animal you love!

I have to say, the windmill challenge had me stumped for a time and I was thinking about jumping ship with my Lego theme for this one, but I gave it another go and came up with a windmill still under construction! Can you spot the timbers waiting to be used?

As a bonus, also make another little Lego vignette. I have to admit, I am enjoying making these little scenes.


An Incredible Way to Say Thank You to Canada Postal Workers

NickLafreniere1’s Lego Ideas creation. Let’s make it a reality and say thank you to our postal workers!

I can think of no better way to say thank you to our Canada Post delivery people right now than giving your support to immortalize them in a Lego set!

NickLafreniere1 has created a Lego Canada Post delivery truck at Lego Ideas (

If you are not familiar with Lego Ideas, it is where Lego enthusiasts can build or design Lego sets and, if enough people support them, they have a chance of becoming actual Lego sets.

Next to the RCMP, I really can’t think of a more Canadian symbol that unites us in real ways. That said, I do still write handwritten letters.

Regardless, as Canadians we can easily give this set all the support it needs to become a real Lego set.

It already has received 1,563 supporters (at time of writing) and only needs 10,000 for Lego to consider making it a set.

Head over, sign up for a Lego Idea account, and give this set the love it deserves!

Another Friday S.T.E.A.M. Build Challenge

Welcome back to this Friday’s S.T.E.A.M. build challenge.

This week’s challenge popped into my head while watching Alien last night: A windmill!

Grab whatever you want from around the house and build yourself a windmill.

Now onto the fun part, last week’s build.

I made two little Lego power generators and they look not do bad if you use your imagination.

This past week I also found out about Lego vignettes. You take a small baseplate and build a small Lego scene. I thought it was so ingenious I made one myself. It was so relaxing and fun I know I will do it again.

Our intrepid explorer hunts for the lost tomb of the great Pharaoh.

If you are enjoying revisiting your youth with Lego as much as I am, you may also want to check out, where Lego has ideas for dusting off your Lego to play with you kids or with the kid inside you.


Build Challenge Fridays: Second Challenge

Friday is here again and that means it is time to hand out the next challenge for this week.

This week’s challenge is to create some form of power generator (And no it does not actually have to generate power … but if it does, cool!) Please build safely and responsibly.

I’ll reveal what I’ll build next Friday with next week’s challenge.

Now onto the bit that, I find, most bloggers put before the bit of information you were coming to the page to see. It is frustrating scrolling through pages of this or the other when you just want that recipe; though, I am sure I have done this and will regrettably do it again at some point in the future —please forgive me.

Between writing and playing with the Lego parts I now have sorted into buckets on the dining room table, I recalled as a kid always building things with odd parts mashed together.

When I would proudly show it to my parents, who always encouraged our hobbies and curiosity, they would ask the always needed, “What does it do?”

Which, looking back, was a really clever way of getting around the question of “what is it?” which was always the kryptonite of a child’s unintelligible creation.

Parents, “What is it?” Six-year-old Kevin, “It’s a space barrel powered by rare crystals manufactured by a race of mice that allows them to fly faster than sunbeams! Pffffffshhhhhhh vrrrrrooommmmmmm!”

Often these mashes of blocks were “really neat and sophisticated power generators” that allowed things to fly or defy physics.

I must admit, being stuck at home and connecting with my inner child again has been so wonderful for my imagination, an invaluable resource as a writer.


Ray Howerter’s LEGO Challenge

While looking for other ideas on what I could build I found another LEGO challenge. Ray Howerter is posting an image a day on his Instagram of a small LEGO creation he has made. The challenge is to figure out how he built it.

He will post solutions on Sundays. It’s a like LEGO crossword.

A post shared by Ryan Howerter (@ryan_howerter) on Apr 3, 2020 at 8:54pm PDT

He also suggests some cool tools that can help if you don’t have a lot of LEGO bricks.

There is the LEGO Digital Designer :

MLCad is another option for Windows users:

And then there is an online version that I liked to use to catalogue my builds after building them by hand – MecaBricks:

But now I use BrickLink’s Studio designer and enjoy that it also has an instructions module so you can make instructions for your builds.

S.T.E.A.M. Build Challenge

First things first, the S.T.E.A.M. Build Challenge and then an update.

One way to keep busy while stuck indoors is a fun challenge. For the first time in a long time, I pulled out my LEGO bricks and had at it building something from my imagination.

After several tear-aparts and rebuilds the result was a steam locomotive. The images are below.

Your challenge? To build any form of transportation that you want using things from around the house. LEGO, toilet paper roles, shoe boxes, K’Nex! Anything is game.

Share your creations on our Facebook page or suggest ideas for the next build challenge that we’ll announce next Friday.

I must admit that I am used to working from home and the first week of social distancing and isolating wasn’t that abnormal. The only difference was that my girlfriend was at home with me creating digital lessons for her students.

Week two was spring break and we got to rebuilding the walls in our basement after some needed foundation work. As that week drew to a close, I began to feel a little stir crazy.

One down three to go. I was also on sweeping duty.

The stress of a weird world isolating itself was finally getting to me. My girlfriend had recently dressed up one of our camping cots with blankets and pillows so we could make use of our loft space. A place in the house that has seen little attention since we moved it. Other renos and projects took priority.

With a lovely place to lounge all set up, I went up and realized that it was in the loft that I had tucked my LEGO away. What better time to revisit your youth and play than when you’re feeling out of place?

I rebuilt the old harbour set my grandmother (Baka as we called her) had gotten me, only to find that I was missing several pieces. Thankfully, I was able to borrow from other sets and get most of it back up. I’ll have to scour my parent’s LEGO bin and hope my niece and nephew haven’t made off with the pats 🙂 (But that is a project for when things get back to normal.)

After having put the harbour back together, I had a bunch off pieces left over. As I kid, I was never that great at making my own creations from LEGO. Then ended up being more imagination rather than looking like something that resembled anything.

But with a needed distraction, I let myself wander down a path of creativity. The steam locomotive came in fits and spurts. It also required tear downs and rebuilds as I found better pieces to do one job, freeing up needed ones to go elsewhere.

After a few of days the final project came to completion, and I figured why not share it with friends and challenge them to make something as well.


Story Dice

One gift I received was story dice. You roll the dice and weave together a story doing your best to use all the elements that are rolled. I thought this would make a fun addition to the blog while also forcing me to write odd little stories and keep skills sharp. For the times being I think I will challenge myself to use the dice in the order they were rolled. Today’s rolls were:

Story Dice
Dice Rolls: Cyborg, eclipse, mad scientist, supper power of super speed, monster, lightsaber, moon, launching platform.

Okay, so here we go.

With all the added advantages of their cybernetic enhanced eyes, Myer longed for the time that they saw the world as they did when they were a child – unenhanced. Even if they had turned off all the information, alerts and processes, the image was still one that was filtered through cybernetic enhancements. Myer got their enhancements later in life and so clearly remembers the world without cybernetic eyes. It was a world that held mystery, curiosity and beauty.

As they gazed up at the Sun in anticipation of the coming solar eclipse, solar filters automatically flipped into place protecting the sensitive electronics that wove their way through their retina. To have seen such a beautiful site with their own eyes, what would it look like, would they have to squint and shield their eyes, would people still yell at you for looking at the Sun before totality? Questions without answers now that the mad progress of science saw all people enhanced. Even those that fought to live without enhancements were forced into it against their wills. People who wished to simply enjoy a gentle stroll along a lake now walked faster than they used to run. Although Myer had never denounced or turned over those who resisted enhancements, they were never against it either. In their heart of hearts, however, they had supported the enhancement for all movement and thanked the technicians every time a non-enhancer was found and brought into a world of better living.

As they gazed up and wondered at what this marvellous sight would look like without mechanical sight, the little monster in their mind came crawling out again. This monster was thoughts of regret, sympathy and shame. Beneath the cold hard support of the actions of the technicians, Myer knew there was doubt. Everyone knew there was doubt.

Part of the rehabilitation after getting enhancements was time with a coach who taught you that even though the bodies physiological drive to push out enhancements had been overcome, the human mind was still a place where enhancement rejection could occur. This was not physical rejection, but emotional rejection. It started, just like that little monster of thoughts that they fought against now and again.

The coaching was personal and taught each person a way to fight off the prospects of mental rejection. If not kept at bay it could lead to insanity or worse. Myer had pulled from their youth and from one of their favourite tales, Star Wars: A New Hope. Just as Darth Vader had struck down Obi-Wan so effortlessly with his lightsaber, so did they now strike out at the monstrous thoughts creeping into their mind.

With a though, Myer turned back on the alerts, data streams and other ocular enhancements. As they did this, an alert showed that the edge of the Moon had just touched the edge of the Sun. It would not have been visible to the unenhanced eye for a number of seconds and had they not turned on their enhancements they would have missed this beautiful moment during an eclipse. How fortunate they were to keep faith in the technicians.

Myer leaned back against the metal framework of the abandoned rocket launching pad and watched as the Moon slowly ate away at the Sun as their enhancements pointed out features on the Moon’s surface that were shrouded in shadows.