Monday, January 15, 2018

Blocks for Big Kids: KEVA Planks

My students love KEVA planks!!!!  

What are KEVA Planks? (visit
  • Every building piece is the same. 
  • KEVA planks are about 1/4 inch thick, 3/4 inch wide and 4 1/2 inches long.
  •  No sorting or looking for special pieces
  • You build structures by simply stacking the planks. 
  • No glue or connectors.
  • Easy clean up.
  • Made of sturdy maple.

The only difference between the two sets below is the contraptions set has two balls and the manuals are different.  The contraption manual has some ways to set up ramps.  I have both sets.

Check out a video using the contraptions

My students' first challenge with KEVA planks was to build the tallest tower using 50 planks.  They all quickly built a tower looking like a Jenga game.  I walked around the room with a meter stick measuring and asking them to try another way.  How can we get them taller?  
I did this lesson with five classes and it was so much fun to watch the process in all of them.  As the time went on the towers got taller.  They figured out various ways to get height.
KEVA Planks are a great filler when students are finished their work before other groups.  I had them create bridges during our bridge unit.
I use KEVA Planks as a choice at Maker Space Club.  The possibilities are endless.
The Boston Children's Museum has an exhibit that is very inspiring.  

KEVA has an amazing website with information, lesson plans, building ideas, videos and much more.
Click to go to website

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Baby It's Cold Outside

We have been battling some very cold weather this week in New England.  We spent the week at out camp in New Hampshire and the heat was broken and we had a frozen water pipe.  Luckily we got both fixed and didn't have any damage.

I have always wanted to do the boiling water experiment and got my daughter's boyfriend to go outside for me.  AMAZING!!!!
I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!!!!  I have been going back to Weight Watchers and I love their new program.  I need to get back to the gym and get back into my routines.  I want make changes that will last.
 I love the "One Little Word" instead of a resolution.  Here is a great list if you need an idea.

My One Little Word for this year is INSPIRE.  I want to inspire my students, family and friends.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday: December

Sorry I am a day late to the party...better late than never.

I am linking up with Forever in 5th Grades Monthly Linky Party called Show and Tell Tuesday.  
Here are a few things that I'd like Show and Tell!
My engineering classes have been building structures.  My kids love my new Kinex set from Donor's Choose.  I highly recommend this building set.

 My students are creating bridges using popsicle sticks that can allow a car to pass and hold weight.  This group had one of the best designs.

My family getting ready for our 27th annual tree tour progressive dinner.  My favorite tradition.  We even added shirts this year!!!

I got a new iphone 8 from xmas and I am obsessed with the camera.  I took this quickly today and I love the lighting.

I am teaching until Friday...and yes, I will be teaching!!!! We don't do holidays or celebrations in my district.  My students will be testing their bridges.

Please visit Forever in Fifth Grade!

Monday, December 18, 2017

I'm Done!!!!

This year is totally new for me.  Teaching engineering everyday with five classes has been awesome but there are some challenges.  One of the struggles is having meaningful activities for groups that finish their work early.
We are currently working on bridges and are building in stages.  I have set up several different activities that they can choose to work on if they are finished.
  • Lego Bridges/Lego wall
  • Kinex Bridges
  • Research a famous bridge or structure:  I purchased on TPT
  • Golden Gate Bridge Brochure:  I purchased on TPT
  • Keva Plank Bridges
  • Read about Bridges
  • Create a Toothpick bridge

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Shapes and Structures (Freebie)

We are getting ready to start our unit on bridges.  I wanted to review 3D shapes and parts.

I started with a lesson on the strongest shape, a square or a triangle.  I used the AngLegs and gave each group a triangle and a square made with them.  We held them and pushed down on the top of the shape.  The square collapsed.  The kids quickly saw that the triangle was stronger.  I gave them one more angle piece and I asked them if they could make the square stronger.  Students added the piece diagonally and identified that the square was made of two triangles.

We discussed new vocabulary and what happened to our square.

We watched the Design Squad video showing a few demonstrations of strong triangles.

I then challenged groups to build with straws and connectors.  Each group had to make different 3D shapes and test to find the strongest shape.  My students love this kit!  I highly recommend them.  They are very sturdy and would be great for math or  recess.  
Straws and Connectors

 Our strongest shape!