Lux Corner Blog – Tagged "STEM" – LUX BLOX
A creativity tool that makes you smarter while having fun

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. https://www.luxblox.com/pages/education

 

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Lux Blox Super Fan

Written by Emma Helferich

As Lux Blox becomes more popular in homes and classrooms throughout the world, we wanted to start a series highlighting some of our Lux Blox super fans. Our first super fan is from Barrington, Illinois and has built hundreds of projects with Lux Blox. 

Timothy Price is 16 years old and has been a loyal fan of Lux Blox for the past year. Some of his favorite things to build are ground vehicles and spaceships. Timothy discovered Lux Blox through his friends who were fans and it didn’t take long for Timothy to get hooked.

Timothy said the durability and creativity that come with Lux Blox are simply unmatchable. His most recent creation has been named, “Cortex Class Assault Cruiser,” this happens to be one his biggest - 7 by 8 inches wide.  Timothy has models utilize all of the Lux Blox parts - squares, trigons, and axles.  And while he has built hundreds of models, so far, his favorite creation is a “Head Hunter Class Medium Tank.” Timothy stated that this was the first time he had pictured one design he planned to build but ended up with something completely different than he had imagined. Timothy stated, “I really like the fact that they (freestyle sets) do not come with any instructions. I can create whatever my imagination comes up with.” One of the most unique things about Lux Blox is some sets come with instructions and others are all up to your imagination. 

Although Lux Blox is known to boost creativity, these blocks are also the perfect construction tool. Last school year, Timothy took a class called Project Lead the Way (PLTW). This is a STEM inspired class and when asked to build a project, Timothy built a “projectile launcher” (or slingshot) made from Lux Blox and a few additional materials - landing him an A in the class! 

Timothy is an inspiring young man and continues to spread his love for Lux Blox by building for the Luxforce. Check out some of his work:

 

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D.I.Y. Summer Activities For Kids

By Emma Helferich

As we head into the peak of summer, kids are getting excited to play outside and have some fun! Here we have gathered three fun and easy, DIY summer activities for kids. 

Sidewalk chalk drawing is always a fun activity for kids. Take it to the next level with this Puffy Sidewalk Paint recipe. With 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, 1 TBSP of dish soap, and a piece of chalk, you can create hours of outdoor fun.

Instructions:

  1. Mix together the flour, water, and dish soap
  2. Using a cheese grater, grate the sidewalk chalk on the finest setting in the color of your choice
  3. Mix well to combine the color. Add more grated sidewalk chalk in if the color is not bright enough
  4. Pour the mixture into squeeze bottles or a zip-lock bag 

This is an easy way to keep kids entertained throughout the day while also getting them involved with mixing it up in the kitchen! 

After a fun day of playing outside, who wouldn’t want ice cream? In just fifteen minutes you can have your own ice cream ready to eat without leaving your house! Follow these steps to make ice cream in a bag:

 
  1. In a small, sealable plastic bag, combine 1 cup of half-and-half, 2 TBSP of granulated sugar, and ½ TSP of vanilla
  2. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine ice and salt. Place the small bag inside the bigger bag and shake vigorously, 7 to 10 minutes, until the ice cream has hardened.
  3. Remove ice cream from the bag and enjoy a cool, tasty treat!!


There’s just something about a covered play area that opens up a kid’s imagination. Creating a fun area for your kids to relax or read a book doesn’t have to be difficult. With just a few household supplies you can have a Hula Hoop Tent up in minutes.

What you need:

  • 1 Hula Hoop
  • 1 Shower Curtain & Curtain Rings
  • 1 Long Rope

First, hook each ring, with the shower curtain attached, onto the hula hoop. Next, cut your rope into four equal strands (about 2 feet in length). Then cut one additional fifth strand longer, depending on your ceiling/tree branch height. Finally, Attach one end of each of the four equal-length strands to the hula hoop, spread out evenly around the hoop. Gather the untied ends of the four strands and tie in a big strong knot. Then, tie the extra-long strand to the knot you just created. Hang it on a safe branch or ceiling hook and enjoy days of fun!!

https://www.capitalgazette.com/cg2-arc-140323style-pin-sisters-20140323-story.html

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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. 

https://www.goodwin.edu/enews/benefits-of-hands-on-learning/

https://www.nap.edu/read/9853/chapter/8#118

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Three Inspiring Achievements of Kids during COVID-19

By Emma Helferich

As stay at home orders were put into place, schools closed and activities paused, allowing children more free time than ever before. What some did to ‘do their part’ during these uncertain times is truly inspiring. 

As the coronavirus spread, face masks became scarce. A group of Detroit students - aged 8 through 13 – created non-surgical masks for healthcare professionals. Providing instruction online, fashion designer Elena Victoria taught the students to sew masks for medical professionals, which they shipped to local hospitals. These children have created hundreds of masks which are being used all over the United States.


Millions of healthcare workers have been risking their lives each day to help care for patients with COVID-19. Some are isolating themselves away from their family and close friends, which can take a toll on a person’s mental health.  One inspiring family from Arizona has found a way to put smiles on the faces of these front-line workers.

Tory Pottinger Feiler and her two boys, Luke and Colin, started making cards for healthcare providers.  It didn’t take long for this to become a huge hit in their community.  Tory created a Facebook page - “Cards for Hospitals and Nursing Homes”.  The community grew quickly as the page has over 500 members from across Arizona.

Members of the group post pictures of the cards, allowing the children to display their creativity before sending them to the health care workers.  Both the authors and the recipients received a boost of positivity from the cards.  According to the Greater Good Magazine, research shows writing letters of gratitude once per week can help with mental health significantly, even up to three months after writing them.


Instead of asking for birthday presents, Domonic Mercado, a 12-year-old from New Jersey, asked his community members for non-perishable foods for the local food pantry in his hometown. Spirit & Truth Ministries Kitchen said this was the largest donation they had seen in years - - 5 SUV’s!  This act is truly inspiring due to the rising number of people who have had to rely on local soup kitchens to feed their family during this pandemic.

 

While the pandemic and quarantines have cost many lives and done great damage to our economy, it is comforting to know that children, working with adults, have been sparked by their caring into action which helped those in need.

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