Lux Corner Blog – Tagged "education" – LUX BLOX
the absolutely brilliant building toy

Why Teachers (and Parents) Love Lux Blox

By Emma Helferich

“Lux is a wonderful classroom tool. I have used multiple of their classroom sets for so many projects…… It is my go to! I have saved so much time in lesson planning with these.” says Ms. Sophia Wood, Canadian math teacher and homeschool mom. Lux Blox is more than a great way to keep your child entertained for hours - these small building blox provide an inquiry-based learning experience to teach STEM topics at home and in the classroom. 

When looking for a great free time reward, Julie Hirschfield, Albuquerque public school teacher, recommends Lux Blox.  “When I give my kids the option between Lux Blox and playground time, 9/10 times they choose the Lux!” Lux Blox are great for developing fine motor skills, enhancing spatial intelligence and keeping students minds and hands engaged.  Because Lux Blox can build static or dynamic models, they lend themselves to projects to support learning objectives across the curriculum.  “My kids visually see, pull, touch, and play with math.”, says Ms. Aly Eastman, a 1st grade teacher at Coast Catholic Academy.  Ms. Hill, a Junior High Science teacher at the same school says “I’ve used Lux Blox many, many times in the classroom.  We use them for making models of structural things like bridges, viruses, and water molecules...students are very engaged when using LuxBlox. They are fascinated by the endless opportunities and new things they can create.” 

Lux Blox is popular in design challenges and classrooms because it demonstrates engineering principles like tensile construction, corrugation, and the min/max principle. 

To learn more about what teachers have to say visit our Educators Homepage.


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Hands-On Learning Helps Brain Development - Here’s Why

By Emma Helferich

We have always heard that hands-on learning will help with a child's brain development, but why is that? Children of all ages - preschool through teenage years - are continuously growing and developing. These are critical periods; the more a child can engage in different activities and create different projects, the more motivated they will be to continue pursuing new challenges and learning new skills. Hands-on learning allows someone to develop intelligence as they use their vision and other senses while touching, pulling, and playing.  This type of learning can be applied to something as simple as basic math or as complex as the structural design. 

While there are many benefits to hands-on learning, one of the greatest is it engages both sides of the brain. According to Goodwin University, “Research done by Cindy Middendorf, an education consultant, has shown that between the ages of four and seven, a child’s right side of the brain is developing, and the learning derives clearly through visual and spatial activities. The right side of the brain, which involves more analytical and language skills, is said to develop later in childhood, around 10 years old.” Being able to touch something is much more engaging than simply reading about it. Hands-on learning requires children and teens to multitask by talking, listening, and moving, and manipulating, which stimulates and develops multiple areas of the brain. 

In another study done with animals, it was proven that experience increases the overall quality of the functioning of the brain. In this experiment, rats were placed with the presence of a changing set of objects for exploration to encourage play (Rosenzweig and Bennett, 1978). These animals performed better on a variety of problem-solving tasks than rats reared in standard laboratory cages. It was also observed that animals raised in these complex environments had a greater volume of capillaries per nerve cell (therefore a greater supply of blood to the brain) than those who did not experience the environments full of manipulatives with which to play. 

There are numerous studies that support the effectiveness of hands-on learning. We encourage you to create challenges and projects for your family to enjoy.

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Doodling with Smoke

Charcoal is our most ancient drawing medium. It is a black carbon residue created by burning wood or bone to remove the water and other component materials without enough oxygen to burn away all of the carbon. 

Cave paintings made using charcoal and other materials have been dated as early as 30,000 years BC 1.  A beautiful charcoal drawing of a mammoth from Rouffignac at Lascaux in France is shown below. These pictures would have been made using charred sticks taken from a fire.

Cave drawings

The most famous painter of the Italian Renaissance was Raphael. He did most of his preparation drawing in charcoal. Here is an example of one of his charcoal drawings:

If you want to make your own charcoal for drawing watch this great video below. It is easy to do as long as you have a charcoal grill or fireplace or place in your yard to make a fire. 

The charcoal I use in my tutorial is made from willow saplings. 

Here is an amazing blog about where the finest willow charcoal is made. It is fascinating. 

Charcoal is a wonderful medium because it is soft and responds to the pressure and direction of your hand. It is a very expressive drawing material and it is great for “doodling” around.

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Making Models of Life with Lux Blox Trigons

The organic molecules that make living things are a bit less frightening when we understand a little about how they work.

Here we show how Lux Blox trigons can be used to understand the building blocks of life. 

The video demonstrates how Lux Blox can model the basic structures that make things like viruses, cells, and microscopic organisms. 

The trigons can give kids the opportunity to model chains of amino acids, called polypeptides, and how these β-strands (beta-strands) can be folded into the β-sheets (beta-sheets) that build the β-proteins (beta-proteins) that build things like viruses and cells.

Trigons come in black, white, and olive green and are available here

Visit our store to see more.

Did you miss our drawing lessons? Check out our video lessons on how to draw by clicking here!

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Free Online Drawing Lessons for Kids with Video Instructions: Lesson 3

Lesson 3: Form Truncation

By Mike Acerra

If you missed our previous lessons, you can find them by clicking Lesson One and Lesson Two respectively. 

Daily Doodle #8

Doodling three-dimensional forms. 

In this video you will doodle simple forms such as  prisms, pyramids, cylinders, cones, and spheres with the illusion of three dimensions.  

Then, you will learn to slice these forms into pieces, called truncations. 

Finally, you will learn to create a powerful form called the lune. The lune is the shape of a lemon wedge.  It is called a ‘lune’ after the word luna, which means the moon. Nature loves this form and uses it everywhere. Even our eyelids are lune shaped! 

Daily Doodle #9

Doodling Compound Forms - Seeing with X-Ray Eyes 

It is exciting to be able to see and draw the shapes that form the building blocks of the complex structures in our world. 

Compound forms are combinations of parts of multiple forms.  Almost everything in life - from man-made to nature-made - is a compound form.

Doodling these forms will give you an ability to see the forms within things and have artistic X-RAY EYES!!

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