Recently a very interesting set was added to the Brickset database: the #2000451 LEGO Education Panama Canal. LEGO Education sets are geared towards teachers and educational specialists to deliver playful learning experiences in preschool, elementary and middle school classrooms. While LEGO Education packages do include actual LEGO bricks to teach math, science, robotics, etc., it is rare to see an actual cohesive LEGO set in the line. In fact, the #2000451 LEGO Education Panama Canal is special in more than one way, so let’s take a look. 🙂
According to the announcement on Brickset, the #2000451 LEGO Education Panama Canal is released to commemorate the widening of the Panama Canal. The set shows how a series of locks allow ships to go through the canal while compensating for the height difference between sea level and the level of Gatun Lake. You can see the set in action in the video below:
As you can see, this 1,184-piece set is quite massive. It is somewhat crudely built compared to standard LEGO consumer sets, but the focus here is the educational aspect instead of good looks. Having an unfinished looking build allows students to see the moving parts, and highlights the mechanics of the canal. In contrast, the little ships are very well designed micro-builds. (Image below: map of the Panama Canal with gates leading to and leaving Gatun Lake – source Wikipedia)
The #2000451 LEGO Education Panama Canal will only be available in Panama, so it will likely be very hard to find outside of the country. In addition, production is limited to 40,000 sets. The original price is around $250, which means that on the secondary market it could very well be in the $500-$1,000 range. Also, the set is really meant to be an educational prop for teachers, so even in Panama its availability will likely be limited.
On the positive side, because the set uses simple elements and a fairly straightforward design, LEGO fans should be able to replicate it without much difficulty. So if you don’t care for the box and original instructions, you might want to take up the challenge to build your own LEGO Panama Canal. The price should also be much less if you build the set yourself.
And if you are interested – especially if you are a teacher – you can also take a look at the LEGO Education website to learn more about what they offer. For adults, LEGO has another educational program called LEGO Serious Play (click on link to visit their website) with sets that can be found under the LEGO Serious Play section of the Online LEGO Shop.
What do you think? How do you like the LEGO Education Panama Canal? Would you be interested in buying it? Or are you inspired to build your own? Do you think LEGO should release similar educational sets in their regular product lines? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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