Arona Builds For The Future With Lego

Back in the age of Stickle Bricks and jigsaws, Lego was king, kids could knock up an impressive house complete with a vaulted roof before you could say planning permission. My efforts would have been a source of amusement to the little pig that thought straw was a sturdy basis for a construction project. The First Lego League, now an annual fixture in Arona makes me feel like a dinosaur but the enthusiasm, imagination, and skill of the budding builders augers well for the future of the Canary Islands.

The event is basically a huge science project, this year 43 teams from across the Canary Islands converged on Los Cristianos cultural centre to battle against each other in an ecological robot wars. Lego these days is mobile, it comes with engines and wheels, inside the Auditorio Infanta Leonor, the stage held a series of big table arenas with different tasks, like Trash Trek, assigned for each team. It all looked rather complicated to an old brain like mine but judges armed with clipboards were marking the teams efforts. There were some very young contestants, if they could hold a small spanner they were deemed ready.

Outside the cultural centre there were marquees for related interest games and displays. Despite being the day after heavy rain, snow, and hail, the usual hot Tenerife weather was back with the sun belting it out in a clear blue sky. I was able to get a clear look at the sun displayed on a paper surface, and then through a special telescope that filtered out the harmful rays. In both cases I could see a prominent sun spot and was suitably impressed. This was just one way that young minds were being opened up to the wonders of science, an impressive list of colleges and business sponsors showed how important the Lego League has become. When I was at school were lucky if we were let loose on a bunsen burner or a hair raising moment on a mini Van der Graph generator. Full marks to Arona Ayuntamiento (council) for putting itself at the centre of the learning universe.