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Thinkfun Maker Studio: Gears Set

Lower Age: 7+
Website: http://www.thinkfun.com/products/
Price: $19.99
Year Added: 2016

The Maker Studio: Gears Set challenges children to build a vehicle out of a few wooden and plastic pieces, including gears, connectors, and wheels, and household items like cardboard boxes. The set includes four different designs, but after mastering the elements involved in the provided designs children can use the pieces to build their own designs. In addition, the kit includes 10 engineering challenges, which ask children to build a vehicle in a certain way and teach basic concepts of automobile engineering such as friction, torque, and propulsion. The set promotes engineering thinking, because it provides a variety of challenges to solve in order to build the desired vehicle. Several of the included engineering challenges involve making precise measurements and cuts to connect pieces together. Children will learn about concepts related to mechanical engineering and learn how to build without the aid of explicit solutions. Oftentimes this will involve trial and error, as well as critical and creative thinking, in order to successfully realize their vehicle designs.

 

 

Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Define a problem, learn about the problem, ask questions, generate ideas, plan the solution, try the solution, create the prototype, test the solution, analyze the solution, redesign the solution, make improvements to the solution, refine ideas, apply science

 

Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: A problem, constraints

 

Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: Spatial reasoning, critical thinking, creative thinking, design, problem solving

 

 

Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews:
    • Rating: NA
    • Feedback: NA
  • Parents Reviews:
    • Rating: NA
    • Feedback: NA
  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews:
    • Rating: 4.8 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “It was exciting to face a problem that seems to be difficult to solve and then solve it with your creativity.
      • “It shows that with a limited number of objects, numerous models can be made by engineering thinking and design.”
      • “The given tips promote engineering process skills such as improving solutions.”