One of the latest movements that we have seen in the schools is the concept of Maker Spaces. It is within these environments the teachers are able to provide students with opportunities to work with a range of different materials to solve a unique engineering or design problems. It is within the Maker Space environment that students learn about the Design Process and how it can lead to innovative solutions to their unique problem. Students not only learn how to solve problems but they also learn how to work together in a collaborative mode to reach the final solution. In this respect, having students learn about the design process is key for them to becoming innovative and lifelong problem solvers. For those of you who may not be familiar with the Design Process it includes the following steps: defining the problem, collecting information, brainstorming and analyzing ideas, developing solutions and building a prototype, getting feedback, and continual improvement of the design. It is within the Design Process methodology that teachers can begin to explore and give students various opportunities to work with different kinds of materials to solve problems. In this context I recently learned about a new construction toy called Qubits which I thought would be of interest to you and would be ideal when working on the design process with students.
Qubits Is it easy to use construction toy that is made of modular geometric shapes which are ideal for students of any age. Since there are no small parts this is an ideal tool for elementary aged students when there is concern about losing pieces or putting pieces in their mouth. Qubits was kind enough to send me the Qubits Rainbow Kit which comes with 84
colorful geometric shaped pieces. The bulk of the 84 pieces pieces are 6.5 inch trapezoid shaped pieces, the remainder of the pieces are 4 inch rectangular pieces that can be used for connecting the Qubits geometric shaped parts. The basic kit cost $54.95. You will find by using Qubits it's easy to make geometric shapes as well as bridges and towers but primarily it's up to your imagination. Each Qubit have two, three pronged connectors on each geometric shape that makes it easy to connect the various parts together. I found that it did not take much force to connect the Qubit parts together which makes it ideal for young students. In the box you will find a handy QuickStart guide with the various ways that you can put the Qubits together. I found it helpful when learning how to connect the Qubits to make a couple of the patterns that were illustrated. Once you have played around with Qubits you will find it really easy to connect the various parts and begin to get creative and build your own designs.
Within 5 to 10 minutes you will become really comfortable using the Qubits to design your own models. It is within this context the teacher should find Qubits very easy to integrate into their Maker Spaces. Qubits would be an ideal tool in the classroom when working on the Design Process and giving students challenging problems to solve using these materials that are found in the Qubits kit.