What is the difference between K'NEX Education Sets and K'NEX sets sold at toy stores?
K'NEX Rods, Connectors and trim pieces used in both K'NEX Education and K'NEX retail sets are universal. You can combine parts from any and all K'NEX Sets and use them to create anything you can imagine. The difference between the two types of sets is that K'NEX Education sets are designed with the express purpose of being used as a classroom tool rather than an individual child's toy.
K'NEX Education Sets contain curriculum support materials, developed and tested by award-winning educators in classrooms across the country. These curriculum materials provide lesson plans detailing how to integrate K'NEX into lessons to teach concepts such as simple machines, amusement park technology, potential and kinetic energy, space exploration, fractions, measurement, and much more. These sets also contain multiple K'NEX parts and instructions so that groups of students can build models and study these concepts simultaneously.
How are the curriculum materials in the K'NEX Education Sets structured?
The curriculum materials included in the K'NEX Education Sets vary based on the subject matter. For most sets, the curriculum is presented to the teacher in the form of the Teacher's Guide. This manual provides the lesson objectives, background information for the specified topics, student activities with reproducible worksheets, methods for assessment and lesson extensions.
For these sets, students work in teams to build the models from the building instruction booklets or cards and then take direction from the teacher for experimentation and investigation. Examples of this are: the Intro to Simple Machines and Intro to Structures: Bridges series, Forces, Energy & Motion, and Amusement Park Science & Technology.
Other sets have curriculum that presents the concepts and activities directly to the students in the form of Activity Cards. The cards provide the background information about the concept, written to the student, as well as directions for investigation and experimentation with the models they build. The students work independently, in teams, through the activities on the cards, using the Reference Cards for support. They provide feedback to the teacher for assessment in the form of written assignments such as journals and oral presentations. The teacher does not have to be actively involved in the individual lessons. Examples of this are the Simple Machines Deluxe Set and Primer Math sets. K'NEX Education's new Collectible sets offer teacher's guides separately. For a comprehensive list of guides that are sold separately please see FAQ #9.
For examples of the curricula, please visit the Lesson Plans section of this web site and download sample lessons from various K'NEX Education Sets.
Can all of my students build the same model at the same time?
We offer numerous opportunities for students to investigate the topics by including multiple models that demonstrate the same concept. This allows them to understand the concept universally as opposed to just related to one particular model. For example with the Simple Machines Deluxe Set, if you are teaching 1st-class levers, your students can build a balance, see-asw, catapult, handcart, rowboat, and scissors; all of which function in the same manner as the real-life objects they replicate.
In the lessons, teams of students build and experiment with the different models. Then the groups can share what they learned with the class to establish how this idea applies to a variety of different things in the real world. This will help them understand the concept as a whole, not just how it applies to one particular example.
We also encourage you to have the students build models of their own design, based on the concepts they are studying. This allows them to use their creativity to demonstrate their understanding of the concept being studied. This also serves as a performance-based assessment tool.
How do I integrate K'NEX Education Sets into my lessons?
K'NEX Education Sets are designed to be open-ended and flexible. There is no right or wrong way to integrate them into your lessons. The Teacher Guides offer detailed information for how to execute the lessons. In many cases, you can open the book and teach without adding anything to the information presented there. You may need to spend some time reviewing the guides first to determine which topics fit into your curriculum. You will most likely not present everything included in the set to the students.
How do I structure my instruction to receive the maximum benefit from my K'NEX Education Set?
K'NEX Education Sets provide materials that support a variety of instructional models in the classroom. Some teachers use the sets to support full class activities, some use them as part of a modular program, and still others set up science or math centers that revolve around a particular K'NEX Education Set.
The descriptions of the K'NEX Education Sets outlined on the web site and in the catalog specify the number of students the sets support. You can use this information to determine your particular needs. If a set supports 20 students, you can use it with an entire class. If a set supports 12-16 students, you may use it as a modular activity or science center or purchase more than one for use with the whole class.
New Collectible Education Sets are designed for 2-3 students working as a team. These sets were designed to allow students to set up a work station or to collect sets over the course of the year to acquire a classroom solution. These sets allow one model to be built at a time.
Examples- Simple Machines Deluxe supports 20 students. Organize the class into five groups. Each group focuses on a different type of simple machine i.e. levers or gears and completes the models and activities for that machine. At the conclusion of their investigations, the groups rotate to another station. When all groups have completed the rotation, have students present their investigations and findings to the class.
Forces, Energy and Motion supports 12 - 16 students. This set provides materials to build four identical vehicles simultaneously. Assign 3 to 4 students to each group for activities. Each group investigates the same concepts with the same models as directed by the teacher. If you would like to use this activity with an entire class of 24 to 32 students, we would suggest that you purchase two of these sets.
Can these sets be integrated into my everyday lessons or are they designed for supplementary activities?
Some K'NEX Education Sets support existing curriculum while others are so comprehensive they can completely supplant existing units in the curriculum. K'NEX Education Sets are intended for use with students of all ability levels. Beyond the lessons that are included in the various sets, there are extensive opportunities for the teacher to design creative activities that motivate and challenge students in many settings.
Educators successfully use K'NEX Education Sets in a variety of settings: Science, Technology, Math, and Gifted classrooms, home school environments, college classrooms, community outreach centers, etc. Many educators use K'NEX Education Sets as part of contests and competitions.
How much time does a K'NEX lesson take?
K'NEX Education lessons and building exercises vary in length. They are divided into manageable segments with easy breaking points. Most Teacher Guides offer suggested duration periods for the entire lesson based, for the most part, on 45-minute periods. Each K'NEX Education Teacher Guide also has introductory sections that address how the curriculum is designed and suggestions for usage.
The building portion of the lesson takes a minimum of 15 minutes. Lengthier building projects can be subdivided as necessary. Clean up and organization are essential, so you need to leave at least five minutes for putting the pieces away and processing what was learned.
You can adapt lessons to best fit your classroom environment and accommodate students of different ages and ability levels. Pick and choose the segments of the lesson you wish to present or do the whole lesson for a comprehensive discussion of the topic.
Where can I buy K'NEX Education Sets?
K'NEX Education Sets are available through a variety of educational catalogers and home school distributors. If you need assistance purchasing a K'NEX Education Set, please contact us directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 888-ABC-KNEX.
How can I turn parts management into a lesson for my students?
Turn the potential problem of material management into a great lesson for your students by selecting a few to be your inventory control team. On a weekly or bi-weekly basis, have the team count the components to determine if any are missing and make the sets orderly. Explain the importance of materials management, inventory control and the need for accuracy in counting. All businesses must keep close track of their inventory and components to ensure that they have the materials they need to make their products, fill orders for their customers and deter theft.
How can I get replacement parts for my sets?
You may order replacement parts on-line by visiting Parts & Extras in the K'NEX shop.
Are K'NEX parts guaranteed?
K'NEX parts are made to last a lifetime of normal use. If you experience a problem, please call us at 888-ABC-KNEX Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. K'NEX Education representatives are happy to assist you.
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