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Electric Motors Catalyst

Lower Age: 8+
Price: $55.00
Year Added: 2017

Electric Motors Catalyst, for children ages eight and up, is a dream kit for any eager young inventor. Included in the set are motors, wires, wooden parts, a pair of safety glasses, a screwdriver, a set of 10 Challenge Cards, rubber bands, and a manual. The Challenge Cards offer suggestions for inventions that young inventors can start with. For example, children are challenged to create different machines that would scramble an egg, draw circles on paper, or spin arms. Children first need to define their problem, which is often the type of machine they are being asked to build. The manual provides tips on electrical connections and general building techniques, along with step-by-step examples of the building process, all illustrated with pictures. As they build, children apply various mathematics and science information gleaned from the manual to help them develop their own inventions. After creating a prototype, children are encouraged to test and improve their designs. Challenges can be solved in numerous ways using the provided parts, which gives children the opportunity to consider their options for improving and redesigning their solutions. In addition to design and creative thinking skills, building with Electric Motors Catalyst allows children to develop spatial reasoning skills, hone critical and logical thinking skills, work on problem solving, and persevere until they develop a successful machine!


Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Define a problem, learn about the problem, idea generation, plan a solution, create a prototype or process, test the solution, redesign a solution, make improvements to their solution, refine ideas, apply mathematics, apply science (electricity)


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: A problem to be solved by developing a new or improved object, tool, or process, a user, criteria, constraints


Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift:

Spatial reasoning skills, computational thinking, critical thinking, evidence-based reasoning, design, problem solving, logical thinking


Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating: 3.8 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I think the projects in this were fun. I like that it was challenging.” F, 8
      • “I think I would want this as a gift.” F, 11
  • Parents Reviews
    • Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I like that the kit is very flexible. It was helpful to have step-by-step instructions to get started but then have open-ended challenges too that allowed for creativity and design.” parent of an 8- and 11-year-old
  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I think that this building kit comes very close to the type of jobs and projects many engineers work on. “
      • “I like the appealing design of the kit and the everyday language the authors use.”