Build With K’NEX! Combines Learning and Fun

“They’re replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge that you drive over in a car, and it is called the New NY Bridge,” Terry Rabideau said, pointing to a K’NEX model nearby. “We need to build a model of it so that other kids can see the bridge.”

Terry Rabideau explains the I Lift NY super crane at The Trove at White Plains Public Library/© Janie Rosman

Terry Rabideau explains the I Lift NY super crane at The Trove at White Plains Public Library/© Janie Rosman

A few youngsters “oohed” as Rabideau, speaking to them at The Trove at White Plains Public Library, moved on to the next K’NEX structure.

“This is called the I Lift NY super crane, and this is what’s going to help build this bridge,” she said. “It takes a lot of equipment to build a big bridge like this.”

Now she has their attention.

“It’s really exciting to be a part of something that’s being built that everybody’s going to know about,” Rabideau continued. A chorus of young voices responded when she asked what grades they’re in now.

“When you’re older in four years, then this bridge will be built, and you’ll remember you built a model of this bridge,” she said, explaining the different parts: base, road, towers and cables.

Youngsters carefully study the model bridge before selecting their K'NEX pieces/White Plains Public Library

Youngsters carefully study the model bridge before selecting their K’NEX pieces/White Plains Public Library

“It’s an opportunity for the kids, while they’re doing something fun, to gain math and engineering skills, to learn how things fit together, shapes, sizes,” Rabideau said the next day. “They’re looking at colors and think they’re having fun. We hope it’s an opportunity to be creative.”

She compared it to the LEGO® Build Club, where kids build whatever they want.

(In Build With K’NEX!), “we give them themes like towers, and it’s (also) an opportunity to be creative. The kids (grades 2 to 6) are a part of history, and the history of their community,” Rabideau said. “And now, as the bridge is being built, the kids are more aware, and it’s exciting for them to see.”

Building foundations for the K'NEX structure and for problem-solving/White Plains Public Library

Building foundations for the K’NEX structure and for problem-solving/White Plains Public Library

“The other part is it’s a social activity for them,” she said. Each of the four tables of kids worked together as a team: “Some kids were runners, and went to find pieces, some kids were the builders, and put pieces together. The room was humming with energy!”

Next week the group will finish their bridge models, and during the third and fourth weeks, they’ll work on the super crane, both of which will be on display at The Trove after a ceremonial unveiling.

Whereas at the LEGO® Build Club, kids will ask her for a certain colored piece, and she’ll make an announcement to the entire room, “This is what so-and-so is loking for,” and another kid will say, “I found it!” They all come forward to help each other.

Which book(s) will you choose?/ New NY Bridge Outreach

Which book(s) will you choose?/ New NY Bridge Outreach

Both groups offer kids a chance to work with materials they might not have access to, or time for, during the day. Better yet, it’s time with their peers, and in a fun, learning environment.

“It brings them into the library, they can see what resources we have and can get ideas from the books,” Rabideau said. “If all the books are gone at the end of the session, then it’s been successful.”

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: