When you’re shopping for toys for your children, finding educational toys that cater to both genders can be frustrating. There’s certainly no shortage of science and construction toys. However, oftentimes toys are marketed toward girls in stereotypical ways.
Here’s one of their retired sets that was a big leap in the right direction.
Lego is looking to change that.
They’ve announced the release date of their Women of NASA Lego sets, which pay tribute to some of the incredible pioneering women scientists. These women who made history in math, science, engineering and space travel. November 1st is the date!
In the meantime, your kids can still enjoy Lego science and space sets, expanding their visions for their futures.
Lego NASA sets
These are a welcome follow up to some of the previous Lego sets, which included female scientist figures. Those sets featured female Lego characters in a STEM career, instead of the usual shopping, hair salon, or pet store scene. These Lego female minifigures included a chemist, an astronomer, an inventor and a paleontologist. What great role models! They were wonderful sets; however, Lego made them limited edition sets. Once they were gone, they were gone. And unfortunately, they sold out quickly.
Here comes Lego again, with an effort to represent female NASA role models. These Lego sets will feature revolutionary women leaders from NASA.
Lego has many sets that focus on space, some include female minifigures as well. These new sets will solely feature the NASA hero.
Characters in the Women of NASA Lego Sets
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, but this isn’t the only way she was revolutionary. At just 32 years of age, she was also the youngest American astronaut to travel in space, a record that still stands today.
Her gender made her a controversial pick for NASA’s Challenger task force. As a result, she dealt with countless absurd questions and comments that no doubt prompted some eye rolls. These included suggestions that the flight would affect her reproductive organs and that she would cry if things went wrong.
Her response? She pointed out that the other astronauts weren’t asked these questions. Clearly, not ever. According to Sally’s mother, there were a lot of people waiting for her to fail. However, Sally rose to every challenge that was put in front of her.
We want to teach our children — girls and boys — that they can accomplish anything.
After working with NASA, she went on to become a physics professor. Later, she founded her own non-profit organization to promote science, engineering, math and STEM education to young people in the USA. It’s called the Sally Ride Science organization.
Nancy Grace Roman
Lego made another great pick with Nancy Grace Roman. She was NASA’s very first Chief of Astronomy. This was the first executive position at NASA ever to be held by a woman. Her role involved overseeing the planning and development of the Hubble Space Telescope. For that, she is known as the ‘Mother of Hubble.’
Nancy’s work has been recognized by various organizations. In 1962, she won a Federal Women’s Award. She was also named one of Life magazine’s most important young people.
In 1969, she was awarded the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal by NASA.
There’s even an asteroid in her honor, so it’s fitting that there’s now a Lego character, too.
Dr. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman in space, and is a hugely inspirational figure. Her character in the Lego sets has the same famous orange space suit that she was known to wear.
In 1992, she boarded the Endeavor Space Shuttle and made history. She became an icon for young African American girls everywhere. She’s so much more than an astronaut, though.
She completed a degree in chemical engineering and a doctorate in medicine. Plus, she racked up countless awards throughout her career. This includes a seat in the International Space Hall of Fame.
She started out in the Peace Corps. After her success with NASA, she resigned to pursue her interests in technology and social science. Then, she founded her own company, the Jemison Group. Jemison has worked tirelessly to inspire young people to take up science and technology, with a particular focus on minorities.
Outside of that, she’s had a career as an actress, appearing in episodes of Star Trek in the 90’s. She’s also an accomplished dancer and has choreographed her own shows.
Is there anything she can’t do? The Lego set will help to continue to inspire a new generation.
Katherine Johnson’s incredible mind was integral to some of NASA’s biggest missions. A genius mathematician, she was able to calculate trajectories and launch windows for space shuttles. She could also back up return paths to be used in emergencies.
Can you imagine if the Apollo 11 flight to the moon had never taken place? Without her, it might not have.
Katherine’s astonishing work has been recognized with a long list of awards and honors. However, by far the most prestigious award she has ever received is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which Barack Obama gave to her in 2015. In 2016, she was immortalized in the movie Hidden Figures. Soon, there will be a Lego set in her honor.
This film told the previously little-known story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians. The film’s release was a great step in putting NASA’s previously unsung heroines into the spotlight.
Lego is looking to further that with their very own Katherine Johnson figurine. Soon, you’ll be able to get one for yourself in one of their new Lego sets.
Margaret Hamilton was the lead software designer for Apollo 11. It was partly due to her work to develop and test the Apollo software that the mission was successful. If it hadn’t been for her work, the moon landing would have been aborted.
Just three minutes before the Lunar Lander reached the moon, the computer was overloaded with tasks, triggering several alarms. The software she helped to develop was able to recognize the problem and go into recovery mode. So, all was not lost — and the moon landing was successful.
Hamilton was also given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was also given a special award from NASA, including the largest financial award they’d ever given to an individual.
Margaret was a coding pioneer and the first person to coin the term ‘software.’
The most astonishing photo taken of her shows her next to books full of pages of code that she’d written, stacked up as tall as her. Lego’s Margaret Hamilton character bears the same long hair and glasses you can see in that photo.
Lego Women of NASA
We’ve always known Lego to be great developmental toys, helping to boost fine motor skills, imagination and creativity. Now they will be helping children get inspired in STEM careers too.
As well as Lego sets, there are plenty of other great educational toys for your child to play and learn from. If you’re into space-themed toys, be sure to check out the SpaceRail marble roller coasters. These are great STEM toys that focus on fine motor skills and attention to detail. What’s great is that as you advance your skills, you can buy more difficult sets, much like more advanced Lego sets with thousands of pieces.
We are so excited to try out these new NASA Lego sets featuring women NASA heroes. We cannot wait for their release!