Oh my goodness! This is a fun project you just got to try out with your own kids, school, church group, or your club!!!
Building with this set is a fun way to learn about Math, Science, Engineering, and Technology. Plus, it is just FUN, FUN, FUN!!!
Brilliant Builders Straws and Connectors from Discount School Supply is a construction set of 705 pieces and comes with blueprint instructions to build 5 completely different projects. But don’t stop with just 5 projects, the amount of projects you could build with these construction kits is endless.
When I say build a project, I mean BUILD A PROJECT! These construction sets build projects that are SUPER-SIZED! Whether you build your project indoors or outside, you will need a large area of floor space to work.
Though it comes in a box, I bought plastic totes to carry my sets in. These totes make it easy to keep track of all my pieces. The boxes were thin and kind of fall apart from the weight of all the construction pieces, and I was sure I would loose some if I didn’t switch them to a sturdy tote.
We have two sets and will be using these in building competitions in some of our upcoming Lego and Robotics Academy 4H club meetings. We hold a building competition during our monthly meetings and this will be a wonderful item to add into our learning about math and construction engineering. I am especially looking forward to learning about load bearing walls and building houses and bridges with these sets as the kids learn about this area of construction engineering.
This summer our 4H club is hosting several Build It Workshops. Today’s Build It Workshop theme was Brilliant Builders. How cool, the workshop and the construction set have the same name! The totes were very handy for the kids to carry, help me load and unload, and to transport our construction sets to the workshop.
At the workshop, we divided the kids into two teams. Each team had their own table and a large area of floor space to work with. We laid out their blueprints and construction sets on their table.
They began by discussing a few construction terms, like blueprints, elevations, load-bearing wall, angles, connections, and materials used in various forms of construction (ie. lumber, brick, concrete, stone, nails, glue, glass, and other building projects). We looked outside and identified various things on different elevations, such as houses, the picnic shelter, the building we were meeting in, the parking area, the playground, and the baseball field. We discussed how blueprints often have a page for the elevation and foundation, then a page for the structure, and a page for the various other things happening such as plumbing, electrical, windows and doors, finish work etc. I will be providing a set of blueprints for the children to look at during our next meeting.
Next the kids looked at their building plans and began separating the connectors that came in the kit. The first step in building their project required them to count how many of the 8 inch pieces and how many of the connectors were needed to create the foundation of the structure.
Then they started building their foundation. They had to keep counting as they worked to be sure to get the right amount so their structure would take on the correct size and shape.
There was some freedom in choosing the colors of their project. The kits come with RED, BLUE, GREEN, ORANGE, and YELLOW pieces. One team designed a color coded plan for the different levels in their project, and the other team used all of the colors randomly on all of the levels. Each team forged ahead, connecting, counting, planning, and building.
It was really exciting to see their structures begin to take shape.
Meticulously they added piece after piece creating levels that rose their projects higher and higher into the air.
Taking their time to make sure all the pieces were completely connected was a very important step. The connections had a counter force from the curve of the structure putting pressure against them. The connections also had to bear the weight of the new levels added on top.
After the first four levels were constructed, the kids had to measure and cut smaller pieces according to the building plans.
The blue prints showed various size pieces of whole, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 sizes. The kids placed their desired piece they wanted to cut on the measuring line, marked the desired length with a pencil, and then cut it with heavy duty scissors. I brought my poultry shears along for this job. This is very thick plastic so you want a heavy duty cutting scissors to cut through it without damaging it.
We had all the kids take turns measuring and cutting.
The shorter length pieces gave new dimension to the design. It created new shapes and brought the curves in tighter.
After building for a while the kids took a break, got something to drink, and played on the swings outside for a bit. Then it was back to building some more. For fun, the kids measured how high their structure was.
Their 4 levels came to 25 and 1/2 inches. That is progress!
Just 6 more levels to go and a few fun additions to create the details of the structure. Can you guess what they are building?
The local parks and recreation workers stopped in to see what we were building today. They are very supportive of our 4H club and our projects. I just love it when the guys stop and chat with the kids for a few minutes. Having adults show interest in what they are learning is a real encouragement for the kids.
My oldest son, age 12, put a lot of thought into building this sculpture. He planned out the color scheme. He cut parts to length and counted out what his teamates needed to continue connecting all the pieces.
The next two levels of rings were larger than the first six rings. These stuck out past the whole structure.
Each step requires thought and concentration.
The top of our structures were much more challenging than the bottom. Fitting pieces of various sizes together was a big challenge. For each level of rings, the circles got smaller and smaller by connecting long pieces with shorter pieces.
As we approached the finish line, the kids got very silly.
Finally, after two and a 1/2 hours, time was up, and it was complete. Well, at least one was complete. We ran out of time to completely finish the second structure. We decided to call it quits at that point. It was hot in the building (no airconditioning), and the kids were all hungry and ready to call it a day.
The kids were very happy with their structures. This was a SUPER SIZED FUN project to build. The finished structure was a little over 6 feet tall.
This Build It Workshop helped further the STEM initiative with these kids. They are learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In addition to learning during the workshop, each child will receive a packet of learning materials to take home, with lesson plans, science, math, art, and more to further what they have learned today. Be sure to check out our other stories from our 4H Lego and Robotics Academy and 4H Build It Workshops to learn more.
These rocket ships took 2 1/2 hours to build, but only took a few minutes to take down and put away. Though the connections are strong, when you release a few of the lower connections, the structure easily comes down. It looked like a tornado had hit. In construction terms, this makes it easy to understand how a tall building can crumble when you damage or remove some of the supports in the walls; the weight of the building causes it to collapse.
The kids loved this part. If it didn’t take so long to build, they would want to repeat the take down part again and again.
Our Brilliant Builder Straws and Connectors kits came with plans to build this rocket ship, a mansion house, the Golden Gate Bridge, a hot air balloon, and the Eiffel Tower. You can find directions to build several more projects with these construction sets on the Roylco (manufacturer) website.
The Brilliant Builders Straws and Connectors 705 piece kit retails for $42.99 and is on sale for $38.92 The Brilliant Builders Straws and Connectors 230 piece kit retails for $16.99 and is on sale for $13.99 Both are available from Discount School Supply.
Discount School Supply also has thousands of other products ready to meet your homeschool needs. Check out DiscountSchoolSupply.com – Save Up to 70% Off Retail Every Day! Click Here! Be sure to stop in at Discount School Supply and find out all the amazing products they have to offer. Another great deal is that they offer free shipping on in-stock orders of $79 or more. They have a wonderful customer service department to help answer your questions too.
The Brilliant Builders Straw and Connectors construction sets are designed for children ages 4 and up. But this is fun for kids of all ages and adults too. This product will be fun for familys and groups to play with. But even more fun to add into math, engineering, and science learning, use in unit studies, and creative art projects too.
We loved building with this construction set and we are looking forward to using it again and again. In addition to our 4H Club meetings and workshops, our kids will be constructing with this set in our homeschool too. I definately recommend this product for your home and your school!
Disclaimer: I received the product mentioned above in exchange for writing an honest review. All opinions expressed are my honest opinion.
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