Radio Series

Building Blocks

Produced by: Judith Kampfner
Two years ago at Long Creek juvenile detention center in Maine, one MIT professor revolutionized the existing school system. He instituted a learning-by-doing program where young offenders spend their day using Legos to build programmable robots - clocks, vehicles and moving fantasy figures. Teens photograph their creations and decorate the room and write diaries proudly chronicling their progress. Can incarcerated youth gain important skills and confidence from such a program or should they be learning discipline in a conventional schoolroom? Producer Judith Kampfner takes us inside the classroom to find out.