FeaturingLaura Flusche, Ph.D
1315 Peachtree Street NEAtlanta, GA 30309
ASSIGNMENT: Pro Bono Consulting
Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate is incredibly proud and happy to help young people while also supporting the arts.
As a pro bono assignment, we lent our real estate expertise to Museum of Design Atlanta for Camp MODA and their quest for a new in-town spot.
We’re joined by Executive Director Laura Flusche, Ph.D, to talk about this special place for tomorrow’s talented designers.
Q: Museum of Design Atlanta is known for exceptional exhibits and thought provoking programming. You also offer a wonderful curriculum for kids. Tell us about Camp MODA.
Laura Flusche: campMODA is our longest-running educational initiative for children. Each summer (and on some weekends during the school year) we hold a LEGO robotics camp. Kids ages 6-14 learn to build robots with LEGOs and to program them to do tasks. This year we’ve branched out a bit. We’re also offering a “Design Changes Everything” camp for Middle Schoolers. They’ll spend a week using the design process to solve a big problem like how to make their school cafeteria better or something equally important. We’re also inviting kids to spend a week learning about architecture and history while building in the popular video game, Minecraft.
Q: How does having fun with LEGOS help prepare these children for the future?
Laura Flusche: All of our camp programs are grounded in science, math, engineering, technology, and design. Kids have fun but learn skills that will help them succeed in school and beyond. For some kids, it’s a way of improving in an area in which they’re quite talented and experienced; for others, it’s a compelling way to exploring areas of learning that they might not have found interesting before. In either case, our camps are designed in such a way that every child can progress in their learning according to their own schedule.
Q: Design has a huge impact on how cities develop. Is there any cross-over in the foundations you all help build with your campers?
Laura Flusche: Sure. The design process teaches us to ask why things work the way they do and to question whether it’s possible to find a better way. If children learn to ask those questions early in life—whether by programming LEGO robots or constructing buildings in Minecraft—then they’ve got the power to change the world for the better.
Q: Can you get the kids to build us a robot that reads leases?
Laura Flusche: I’m going to have to check with this year’s campers to see if they want to take on that project!
Q: Why is camp important for the design community?
Laura Flusche: campMODA is important to the design because it gives kids a basic introduction to principles of design. They learn to turn ideas into reality, to test their solutions, and to go back and try again when things don’t come out the way they imagined that they would. As such, kids get to try out a career they may pursue a bit later in life. Even if they don’t become designers, they have a heightened awareness and appreciation of what it is designers do and what processes they use.