Friday, November 1, 2013

K'Nex in the Classroom Can Help Build STEM Skills @KNEX

K'nex Stem kits
You may have heard the term STEM education and wondered what it meant.  STEM is an acronym for the fields of study in the categories of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Some people get nervous just hearing the subjects named, but learning and teaching these STEM subjects does not have to be a source of stress.  K'Nex even has some building sets to make it fun, and accompanying lesson plans to help.

Let me tell you about four box sets that are ideal for STEM learning.

First, the set for Force and Newton's Laws.  Designed for students in grades 5-9 the kit contains 115 pieces, an instruction booklet, a battery, and a spring and fly-wheel motor.  The kit supports 1-2 students and contain the parts to build 11 vehicles.  (vehicles must be built one at a time)  This set has a suggested retail price of $59.99. Some projects will require two AA batteries.

Here are some of the projects that can be created while exploring the concepts of motion, forces, and energy.

Knex Force and Newton's Laws
There is also a kit to explore Simple and Compound Machines.  This set has 352 pieces and the instructions to build sixteen machines that students are already familiar with, like the elevator, scissors, and paddle boat seen in the photo below.

Knex Simple and Compound Machines
One or two children can work from this set, and when the lessons are completed, the pieces go back into the handy storage tub with a snap on lid.  The suggested price for this kit that is designed for 5th - 9th grade students is $59.99.

The Investigating Solar Energy kit includes a real solar panel and motor that will power the car, shuttle ride, or the model of a man with a crank.  These three models can be constructed (one at a time) with the 128 parts in the set.

Knex Solar Energy
The suggested retail price for this kit is $69.99 and it is also suited best for students in grades 5-9.

Finally, I would like to tell you about the Exploring Wind and Water Energy set.  One or two middle school students can use the 288 included pieces to create six different models.  We liked the windmill ones the best.  This set has a suggested retail price of $69.99

Knex Wind and Water Energy
Students like the hands on work and it is fun to see the models work with water and wind.

K'Nex has also created lesson plans to accompany the sets.  Download a guide that will assist you and your students to become comfortable with problem-solving, discovery, exploratory learning and critical thinking. These lessons will encourage scientific inquiry, investigation and experimentation while they build, investigate, problem solve, discuss, and evaluate scientific and design principles in action.

Knex Lesson Plans
If you have to be concerned with such things - all of the lessons are aligned to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math standards.

These kits provide hours of educational entertainment and have great possibilities for a lot of fun.  Here are Boy One and Boy Two working on some projects.

K'Nex Stem Sets
For more information, visit K'nex on the web at  Social media fans and followers keep up with the latest news as well as contests and deals.  K'Nex always has something going on -they just finished a K'Nex-a-Day giveaway promotion.  You can like the Facebook page, follow on Twitter, (@KNEX), check out the K'Nex Pinterest boards or watch some videos on the YouTube channel.

Keep Learning Fun!