4 Ideas for Construction System Implementation
Using construction systems in the classroom is about more than just having fun, which you’ll be able to literally see as you watch your student’s spatial skills improve before your eyes.
Whether your goal is for students to improve their familiarity with shapes, solve engineering challenges, or simply remain engaged between classes, construction systems can help. Different method of implementation challenge different aspects of spatial capabilities, which keeps the lessons fresh for your students while simultaneously enabling you to reach your classroom goals as efficiently as possible.
Here are the four primary ways we recommend using construction systems in the classroom.
Free play or “unstructured play” is just what it sounds like: allowing your students the opportunity to flex their imagination and creativity in an open-ended environment. Open-ended and unstructured building activities are shown to improve spatial skills in children (Casey et al. 2008). Pop open a box of Brackitz (or your favorite construction system) during free time, and see what sort of designs your students come up with unaided. While your students are hard at play, you can walk around and ask them questions about their designs that require them to provide an answer using spatial language for an added challenge.
Free play emphasizes creativity and exploration, leading to generalimprovement in spatial abilities as well as improved confidence.
Model copying is when students build a design that copies a given 3D or 2D model. Each Brackitz set comes with a set of diagrams that students can recreate using the Brackitz components.
Model copying provides more structure than free play, and allows children the ability to practice matching angles and orientations, as well as translating objects from two dimensions into three. These skills are similar to those required for cartography and for creating 3D models based on blueprints.
Building challenges are challenges created by the teacher for the students to solve. For example, teachers could break students into groups and assign them the task of building a crane that holds the most weight in marbles possible using a set amount of Brackitz pieces. During the build process, the teacher can float from group to group to see what the students are coming up with, ask critical questions, and offer suggestions as needed. Once the builds are complete, the students can test the integrity of their constructions. The class could end the session with a group discussion about what factors influenced the properties of the structures, and why some performed better than others. Brackitz has lots of lessons and resources to get you started.
Building challenges call on students to use more complex spatial reasoning and problem-solving abilities, strengthening spatial visualization to a higher degree than other activities (Casey et al. 2008).
Toys As Instructional Manipulatives. Following guided instruction from the teacher, students can use Brackitz components to build geometric shapes. Once complete, the shapes can serve as tactile visual aids, allowing the students to get a feel of the shape as the teacher asks questions about the shapes’ properties such as number of sides, relative sizes of the angles, and so on.
This allows children to develop a greater understanding of geometric shapes from a spatially rich vantage point.
When it comes to using construction systems to teach spatial skills, open-endedness is key. This means giving students as much building flexibility as possible without limiting their options.
Due its unique connectivity capabilities and design, Brackitz is the only solution on the market that successfully pulls off this ideal. Brackitz allows children an endless variety of ways to express themselves through adjusting length, and using rotation and odd angles, making the opportunities for 3D creation and problem solving truly unlimited.
Brackitz is a fantastic engineering product and flexible enough to use in many curriculum subjects from civics to physics. -Bob C, STEM Is ElementaryWhether it comes to building magnificent structures, solving abstract equations, or just blowing off some STEAM in between classes, construction systems offer a fun, hands-on way for children to flex their spatial reasoning skills.