Caption: Interactive Lego model of a hospital with a helicopter pad and ambulance wired to teach engineering, networking, circuitry, programming, and cyber security principles.
The Wyoming Community Foundation (WYCF) has awarded a grant to the CyberWyoming Alliance to provide interactive, educational cybersecurity Lego models for Wyoming teachers to borrow for a full semester to teach engineering, networking, circuitry, programming, and cybersecurity attack and defense principles.
Teachers in Wyoming, especially in smaller school districts, often face challenges as they are expected to teach subjects outside of their expertise. For instance, math teachers may instruct a computer science course to meet state curriculum requirements, despite lacking specialized training.
The CyberWyoming Alliance has devised a solution to support teachers and get young people interested in technical careers: Legos. Everyone is familiar with Legos, and the wired models in this program serve as an interactive gateway to computer science education. The program will provide pre-built Lego kits with teacher instructions and cyberattack and defense scenarios encouraging students to explore the cybersecurity aspect of sites they see in their community: a hospital, an airport, and a construction site. Wired to Raspberry Pis and laptop computers, these models can be borrowed by teachers and used to teach students about engineering, networking, circuitry, programming, and cybersecurity attack and defense principles.
Interested teachers can register to receive a model at https://www.cyberwyoming.org/lego/. With only three models available, a waiting list is expected, however, the CyberWyoming Alliance will keep a list for both fall and spring semesters.
In June 2023, CyberWyoming Alliance successfully tested an interactive Lego model of a hospital during the Teens Exploring Careers Camp in Casper, Wyoming. The model received positive feedback from the campers who found it to be a valuable hands-on learning experience of critical technology principles.
Throughout the state, interactive models like these are developing in tandem with organizations coordinating events and training. Laramie Country Community College (LCCC) built a full, static Cyber City model using model railroad buildings and has expressed a desire to use its model for teacher exploration. Wyoming Manufacturing Works is currently developing a traveling Lego cyber city for use in demonstrations across the state to its clientele.
“A special thanks goes out to the Wyoming Department of Education Career and Technology Education Program, Black Cat Construction of Cheyenne, and Sam Lightner Jr. who wrote letters of support for the grant and a team of our board and community members that helped to get the test model going,” said Laura Baker, President of the CyberWyoming Alliance. “We also want to thank John Michael Giltner from Claroty and Medigate for their donation to the Lego program. Heather Young and the team at Claroty recorded a Women in Cyber video that was premiered at the TEC Camp and will be used for future camps.”
The Wyoming Community Foundation recognizes the efforts of the CyberWyoming Alliance in developing this program, which aims to provide valuable support to Wyoming teachers and generate interest in critical technology careers among students. By investing in our teachers and students, we are working towards securing a stronger future for Wyoming’s communities.