KEVA Brain Builders and Brain Builders Junior:
One of My Best Teaching Moments
By Guest Blogger: Kim G.
When teaching, the reward of the job is always in the impact you make in your students’ lives. You live for those moments of great and treasured opportunities. My experience with MindWare KEVA Brain Builders sets (KEVA Brain Builders and KEVA Brain Builders Junior) will forever be one of those moments for me. It wasn’t anything really that I did. It was what my students did, what they could imagine, their support of each other, their collaboration, their determination and sense of accomplishment on something they knew was challenging and hard. It gave me the opportunity to watch, listen, and support with a big smile on my face as my students stood proudly behind what they had created and developed and were in awe of their fellow classmates and others from around the school in what they had done.
MindWare KEVA Brain Builder and Junior Cards are phenomenal by themselves.
- A top-notch STEAM and critical thinking activity already fully developed and created. Just open the bag and hit the ground running with minimal set up and instruction.
- The easy to more challenging order of the cards built upon each other in order to help promote confidence and success.
- After modeling once or twice, the teacher could easily transition into a facilitator and help guide and check to make sure students were on the right path.
- By having students work in pairs, students will work on life skills such as communication, collaboration, and being encouraging when working through difficult tasks.
Taking It To Another Level: Students Creating Their Own Brain Builder Cards
- After students had completed many of the activity cards, pairs of students got to create their own structure. Students had to come up with their design. Designs could only use a maximum of 20 blocks. All blocks had to be visible otherwise the person recreating it for a Juniors card or making it using the blueprint for the regular Brain Builder card wouldn’t be able to tell it was there. The structure would need to be recognizable and have a name that went along with the way it looks.
- Once students had their creation, they helped take a picture of the structure. We used black construction paper taped to boxes in order to focus in on just the KEVA blocks. Students then typed the title of their structure. Once printed, they glued the picture and title onto construction paper.
- My 3rd-5th grade students then went beyond and created a blueprint of their structure showing the front, side, and top view on the other side of their “card” just like in the Brain Builders set using small cut out strips of papers that matched the color and size of the ones on the MindWare cards.
- To wrap up our unit, students got an opportunity to share their cards in a variety of ways once everyone was finished. One way was with each other. Stations of the different created cards were set up around the classrooms. Students went from card to card creating the structures of their classmates.
- Another way students got to share their cards was with their parents and the whole school at our Specialists’ Night of Creativity. I organized each class set of cards into labeled binders. Students took out their card to either race their parents to complete it or work together with them. Parents loved seeing their creativity and were very impressed by ingenuity and problem solving processes.
Student-Made KEVA Brain Builders Jr. Card – Kindergarten
Student-Made KEVA Brain Builders Card – 3rd Grade
My students and I are a big believer in these KEVA products. They are fun and challenging and are a fantastic addition to any classroom or home. I hope to add KEVA Contraptions to my classroom in order to continue their critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Kim is nine year veteran elementary and middle school educator as well as a mom to two elementary-aged boys. Currently, she is teaching a class at an elementary school called LOGIC where students work on life skills, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking through games and hands-on activities. She works the entire Kindergarten through 5th grade student body.