Saturday, October 1, 2016

Build STEM Skills With Brain Puzzles

I'm so excited to share with you the newest addition to my STEM resources I use in my 2nd grade classroom! It's so important that students get time to think critically, create, and solve problems independently and in groups, and these tools from MindWare do just that!

The brain builders I have are wooden planks that are perfect for students to construct various objects and pictures. I introduced the planks as a Fun Friday afternoon activity, and my students loved working together to build anything they could come up with!
After letting them explore the materials for awhile, I handed pairs of students Brain Builders Junior puzzle cards. On the cards, students saw a diagram of something to try to build... They were a HIT! The kids LOVED the challenges! There were amazing discussions going on with my students about different ways to try to build these pictures.
Because I was using these with my whole class on a Fun Friday, I used the Brain Builders Junior cards and the Color Pops Planks. The planks that come in the Brain Builders bag are perfect for 1-3 students to use together, so I keep them in an early finisher tub. Students grab them when they have extra time or finish work early. When we are all exploring with the brain builders, I pull out my big boxes of purple and turquoise Color Pops so there are plenty to go around for the whole class.

These kiddos worked hard to build a pallet. Here's the during and after... They were SO proud of themselves! 
 
 
I also have the regular Brain Builders set, which is a bit more advanced. These ones have more intricate diagrams for students to follow with a solution picture on the back. Right now my students aren't quite ready for them, but I think by the end of the year we will be ready to try them out!
Here are some snapshots of my kids building and exploring with our brain builders. They absolutely LOVE the challenges, and they get so excited when they make something successfully. I'm so excited to have these as additional STEM resources in my room!
I highly suggest adding these MindWare STEM materials to your classroom, or even getting enough to share with your grade level. They are SO worth it, and they're a HIT with your students!

This review is based strictly on my opinion. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company to provide my honest review. All ideas and opinions are my own.

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