Sunday, November 6, 2011

Erector Set Provides Hours of Fun.

Happened to see one of these sets in Costco, it was at a great price...batteries included...had to get it. I was a bit concerned because the youngest is only 5 and it said ages 7 and up, but my worries were unfounded.

They spent hours and hours building and playing...had to throw a little math in there but over all they spent two days creating their space ships. An hour before Chinese lessons on Saturday, another hour after wards and then first thing this morning until the evening...

Erector Sets; Updated but still hours of enjoyment...they are quite excited to build more, next week this week they built "the good guys".

Teaches cooperation, patience...develops fine motor skills, practical problem solving, the basic mechanics of fasteners, and the list goes on.

Daughters should also be exposed to this...this is part of the reason most men don't have to think about which way to turn a nut or a screw. Both boys had never really put a nut on a screw, nor had they used an allen wrench. So we practiced a little bit first. Once they figured out how to get the nut on they could get the parts out and put them together.

At first it looked a little intimidating but I told them just do one thing at a time and keep going. For the first few hours their spaceships didn't look much like space ships.

Burt as they built the parts and put them together they started getting excited as they could see it coming together. There is an excellent allegory with math here. Imagine if all they ever did was practice putting nuts on bolts. Then endless assembled parts but never got to put the parts together...and had no idea what the parts were for for or how they were going to go together and never got a chance to see the space ship they were building.  That's pretty much the sate of mathematics in the USA. As one person put it all scales no music.

Finding the parts needed out of all those parts was a task in itself...

And once you got the parts then you needed to put them together.

But pretty soon they started looking pretty cool.

The older boys ship took a lot of work and quite a bit of problem solving...he learned very quickly to do things in te right order and follow instructions exactly...he had to take things apart several times and put them back together again..."you weren't wrong you just got more information."

The younger boy's project was easier. 

Putting the stickers on was a lot of fun too. The younger boy especially was excited to put the stickers on...and help his brother choose which ones to put on.

Both of them had moving parts which made them that much more fun.The wings move, there were LEDs for lazers and missiles that shot out.

The younger boy knows his addends for 10 by heart no the rest of them have to be mastered. These are the nuts and bolts of math. Making addition and subtraction EASY and allowing him to count effortlessly. This leads to multiplication which allows him to count very, very fast, and since all math is, is counting plus some reasoning and critical thinking skills getting the counting down will make the computation portion of the mathematics a non issue.  The thinking skills can then be concentrated on and mastered. Again, once you understand the concepts all they can do is change the numbers...but the "problems" are all the same.

Righty tighty lefty loosey...of course had to throw some math in there but they popped out of bed first thing this morning and have been at it ever since.

They really got a sense of satisfaction out of building their own toys. I help them when asked but for the most part they did it themselves. Next week they build the bad guys which look a little more complicated.  But they have some experience now and confidence. In the future even more complex sets can be obtained and built...and then one day we can work on cars together.