A universe of bricks

Already in 1974: « the urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls. It’s imagination that counts ». Thanks to LEGO to allow our generation to be part of the game and A Mighty Girl for sharing. But moreover, thanks to Ole Kirk Christiansen for creating a compositional universe of creativity for everyone.

Lego notice to parents (shared by A Mighty Girl)

Playing bricks is so serious that can affect even the way we can approach the way of modelling other domains. From an epistemological perspective, the « brick » approach of (socio/co)creation of artifacts is a powerful idea about complex thinking. When Seymour Papert describes in Mindstorms his understanding of factors through gears, he is describing what kids around the world are understanding through brick engineering in their own pace. When teachers embrace this type of learning to help kids to create a link between their playful brick creation experience and the standardized concepts, they are multiplying the power of game-based learning by combining free play, guided play and formative feedback.

From bricks, to Object Oriented Programming (OOP), Unified Modeling Language (UML) design, but also observing mother nature creations (such Antoni Gaudi did when solving architectural problems), but also when trying to understand the principles in machine learning 👉 the concept of « brick » and the relation between the different « bricks » and set of « bricks » is an important computational thinking aspect related to complex and systems thinking, from my perspective of « compositionalist » 🤓. We need to overcome the linearity (« a », « b », « c »…) and the dichotomies (good/bad ; true/false ;…) which dominate the easy thinking that is winning part of young minds, to help kids to think and be (co)creative and reflexive in a more complex way.Moreover, complex thinking requires to be aware of the artificial limits that has been defined through the traditional disciplines. E.g. the field of computational biology can be informative about the way to model processes, but also create an understanding of deep learning through the hierarchical classifications in nature : »The fundamental concept of deep learning is a hierarchical image representation composed of building blocks with increasing complexity per layer. In a similar way, nature is compositional, i.e., small units form larger units, and each aggregation level increases the diversity of the resulting structure. Such hierarchical representations achieve classification performances that were mostly unachievable using shallow learning methods with or without hand-crafted features » (Wäldchen et al, 2018).

And bricks are so powerful than can even bring arguments against the compositional nature of the universe. When Bynoe (2011) argues against the compositionalism, he defends that « kinds of parthood must be governed by Non-identity and Nonparthood Supplementation ». In my brick minded perspective, this is also make sense by reminding us that there are not only LEGO bricks, but also other type of bricks and units which does not combine with them. However, we can often 3D print ways to combine different systems of bricks, we « only » need to capacity to correctly understand and shape the nature of the different types of bricks 😜