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KEVA Brain Builders

Lower Age: 7+
Website: http://www.mindware.orientaltrading.com/keva-brain-builders-a2-66009.fltr
Price: $14.95
Year Added: 2017

Brain Builders is game-building challenge for children seven years and up. The game, stored in the provided storage bag, includes 20 pine building planks and 30 challenge cards. Diagrams are coded with three colors, and instructions outline what surface of a plank is represented by each color. Children are given the 2D top, side, and front views, which they have to convert to a 3D model. To accomplish this, children have to make careful observations of the challenge/problem on the card, generate ideas, and plan a solution strategy. By applying mathematics, recognizing patterns on the card, and using computational thinking to “decode” the diagram, children can design and construct a physical model of their solution. When that prototype is complete, they can flip over the challenge card to see the solution. Using evidence-based reasoning, they can then analyze their prototype and determine whether the criteria has been met by comparing the given solution with their design. Brain Builders engages children’s spatial reasoning skills, but also simultaneously has them practice critical thinking and logical thinking as they persevere to build a structure.

 

Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Make observations, plan a solution, try the solution, create a prototype or process, analyze the solution, redesign the solution, make improvements to their solution, recognize patterns, apply mathematics

 

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

 

Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: Spatial reasoning skills, creative thinking, evidence-based reasoning, design, problem solving, perseverance, logical thinking

 

 

Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating: 4.38 out of 5 .0
    • Feedback:
      • “I like that you can build what you want.” F, 12
      • “I really like that you build with the blocks. I also like that there are so many things that you can try to build.” F, 6
      • “I liked how it had different cards with examples to follow and give directions. The fun had thinking and building.” F, 6
      • "I like it. It's cool and it's fun. You can build different things." M, 8
  • Parents Reviews
    • Rating: 4.67 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “Good: Building with a purpose, Interpreting drawings, Wooden Pieces. Bad: It feels like the game wouldn't sustain interest for long.”
      • “I liked watching my daughter enjoy building.”
  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 4.67 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “This game does a good job at making children think from different perspectives. Using different angles to form an entire structure promotes logical thinking well.
      • This game does a good job of letting kids (and adults) practice an important and under taught skill important to many engineering tasks- spatial reasoning.”
      • “This toy is a hands-on way for kids to visualize objects and practice spatial reasoning and critical thinking skills. These skills are very important in design and when making drawing for engineering products.”
      • “This game allows children see what different views of a structure look like, to build the structure, and then redesign if needed. This toy teaches essential lessons for engineers and is a great way to get started learning how to be an engineer.”
      • “This toy encourages kids 5+ to recognize patterns and try the solution for themselves. The game comes with a set of challenge cards for levels beginner, intermediate, and expert; the cards are very interactive and encourage kids to try solutions on their own first.”
      • “Even though this game doesn't have a client or involve testing, I still think it promotes engineering thinking and design. Children need to make observations about the problem from the card. Making observations also includes "deciding" structure to be built from color coded drawings (practicing visualization and computational thinking skills). The whole building process has children practice critical and logical  thinking and perseverance.”