Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Hands-on learning is a priority in our home! I believe in the importance of learning by doing, so I love when we review resources that are focused on actively engaging. This Middle School STEM Creator Pack from Pitsco Education perfectly meets our needs.
Pitsco Education has been dedicated to hands-on exploration and problem solving for over 40 years. Their materials and curricula are STEM-based, meaning they incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math skills while making real-world applications. Their philosophy of education, "What will you bring to the world?" is manifested through experiences that engage both hands and minds. It is their desire to put a piece of the world in students' hands and help them understand how it applies to their lives.
The STEM Creator Pack is geared toward the 6th-8th grade crowd. It includes all the materials, instructions, and curriculum to build 5 projects with 15 activities.
- Balloon Cars
- Da Vinci Bridges
- Personal Inventions
- Friction Climbers
All the projects come individually bagged with everything you need. I have been doing hands-on activities with my kids for more than a decade; I am not afraid to gather random household supplies to complete an assignment, but this kit is so convenient! It cuts back on excuses for not doing projects with your kids such as not having enough time or not being able to find materials or not wanting to look for ideas. All you have to do is grab a bag. Truly, it could not be simpler!
Even though the kit was designed for middle schoolers, I chose to use the Creator Pack with my science-loving, engineer-minded, always-building, busy boys ages 5, 8, and 10.
Each project comes with a Creator's Guide booklet which includes step-by-step building instructions with pictures, interesting facts, and engaging questions. I found that since the instructions are written in an easy-to-understand way and have visual clues for each step, my boys did not even need my help with building some of the projects. Even my second grader had no trouble with things such as folding the car template, taping it, and assembling the wheels. Though I did help with cutting it out and teaching him how to score for easy folding, he was able to follow their instructions just fine.
Most of the projects also include additional activities to extend the learning. For instance, after the boys each took a couple turns playing with the catapult, there were 4 suggested ways to use it: testing the distance, hitting a target, designing a multi-player game, and playing the game. Each activity lists needed supplies (some of which are not included in the kit, but are common), instructions, charts for recording data, and additional relative facts and discussion questions.
Some of their favorite times were testing their theories and trying new ways to use their projects. They learned the best placement of the straw to get their balloon-powered car to go the fastest, that the friction climber is a fun way to get a Lego minifigure to higher heights, how to accurately shoot the catapult so someone can catch the projectile, what happens when you change the angle of a ramp, and various other real-world things.
We did not have the best of luck with the Da Vinci bridge project, unfortunately. That was one set of instructions that I found confusing. Even my engineer husband who easily understands things like this had a difficult time getting the popsicle sticks to stay together long enough to form a long bridge. That is one that we will definitely have to try again as a family.
We still have one final project to complete. They saved their favorite for last--creating their own inventions, which opens up all possibilities for creativity. The kit comes with tons of provided materials like chipboard, string, clay, spools, rubber bands, and straws, but encourages the use of any supplies. There are a few suggested inventions, but the main purpose is getting kids to come up with ideas--whether it's improving something or creating an entirely new concept--and then creating them. I know that my boys will spend days being engineers and testing their contraptions.
My boys absolutely love this kit! It's fun, engaging, and gets them doing what they love best--building and creating.
I absolutely love this kit! It's organized, thorough, easy-to-follow, and gets my kids doing what I love best--learning by doing.
Pitsco Education is generously sharing their learning kits with their followers! You can enter to win your own STEM Creator Pack by filling out a brief form for the giveaway. Good luck! Then you, too, can create this fun catapult like my boys did.
Middle School STEM Creator Pack is a must-have for anyone who values hands-on education, incorporates STEM activities, or just likes to have fun. It's the perfect summer activity kit as you can grab a bag once a week and learn without feeling like work. They offer products focusing on robotics, aerospace, coding, sustainable energy, drafting, structures, and more, so there is something to pique your child's interest.
I can't wait to surprise my little engineers with more hands-on fun from Pitsco Education!
You can connect with Pitsco Education on the following social media sites:
Pitsco Education offers many fun and engaging learning products. My Crewmates were able to review things such as elementary and high school kits, coding cubes, Smart Buddies, and Arduino kits. You can read more reviews of these products on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.