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Sunday Science: KEVA Blocks - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Sunday Science: KEVA Blocks

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Young architects are hard at work in ECHO's newest traveling exhibit: KEVA Blocks.

"Manipulating blocks can be fantastically fun," says Linda Bowden with ECHO. "At the same time, they're learning a little bit about physics, they're learning a little bit about engineering."

A time lapse shows the construction that goes on among families in this room. Kids of all ages are encouraged to sit down and test out their architecture skills -- designing, building, and then knocking down their creations.

"Even balance at a 3-year-old age, small manipulation is something that they need to handle," Bowden says. "And then as they get a little bit older, they're going to add more to it."

Each block depends on the next for support, and they're mathematically designed to allow for impressive sculptures like this Medieval castle, a KEVA bird, or even a tower 51 feet tall!

There are 15,000 of these blocks in the exhibit here, and while they make look simple, the structures they can make are anything but.

Isla Siddle is a careful builder because she doesn't want to knock anything over.

"Well and then we'd have to do it all over again," she says.

Communication is something ECHO says it's trying to encourage with this exhibit, allowing families like the Siddles to talk through what their design is, whether it's going to fall, and what they can do to make it withstand the forces of gravity.

"I just like to watch her be creative and come up with her own ideas and test them out. I like to listen to her talk about what she's doing," says her mother, Liz Siddle.

And while four-year-old Liam Fitzpatrick may think he's about done building his house, his mom probably knows better.

"Mommy! Hey mom, we're almost finished!" he says. "We just have to build three more rooms."

By the sound of it, this young architect could be here while longer.

There are a few challenges for kids: They have "Wacky Wednesdays" where Vermont architects come in and help kids with designs. And there's also a design contest each afternoon at 4 p.m.

Cat Viglienzoni is also a volunteer at ECHO.

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