October 13, 2016

KEVA Planks are the Bomb

You guys, I have been wanting KEVA Planks for my classroom since last January when I saw a presentation about them. The presenter was amazing and gave me tons of ideas on how to use them. I was so excited! So you can imagine how excited I was when MindWare contacted me to review them here on my blog!

Disclaimer: This post contains sponsored content, affiliate links, and review products. Regardless, these are 100% my own opinions.

So what are KEVA Planks?

KEVA Planks are wooden building pieces. Yeah... it's simple. Every piece is the same unlike other building blocks and the size and weight of the pieces make structures incredibly stable. Take a look at this structure I found on the official KEVA website.

Back in January, I went to a STEM workshop in Orlando and one of the presenters was showing us amazing uses for KEVA planks in the classroom. In the beginning he showed us Brain Builders. Mindware sent me two packs of Brain Builders and I cannot WAIT to use them with my students in my classroom.

The Brain Builders pack (not the Junior version) has everything you need to get started. It comes with 40 planks so if you don't want to buy a large set, you can start with the Brain Builders and at least get started. The challenge for students is to use the 2D images to create a 3D structure.

Here's the fence I built.

You can see that I had all the views necessary in the 2D diagrams to build it. This was a Beginner Level card. The Expert Level cards are NO JOKE, people. I tried the rowboat... but... I decided to take a picture of my fence instead....

For those of you looking for STEM activities for little ones, MindWare also offers a Junior version of Brain Builders.

What I like the most about the Junior version is that it is very easily integrated into any subject area. I taught Kindergarten previously (now I teach Second) and I love how these challenge cards show letters, numbers, shapes, and even some cards for Science topics. I would have loved to see that moon and stars card when we did our Day and Night unit!

I chose the Structures set to start with for my classroom. It comes with 200 pieces but there are larger sets available. The Structures set comes with a booklet with ideas and inspiration for students to take a look at and get creative. MindWare also has other sets like "Contraptions," "Connect," and "Colors." Remember, all the planks are made to be the same. The booklets in each set will provide different types of things to build. Take a look at these pages from the Structures booklet I received with my set:

The tops of the pages indicate how many planks you'll need for the structures.

There are so many ideas on how to use KEVA planks in your classroom. Here are some that I came up with just by opening the pack. Think about what your kiddos will come up with!

I am so excited to use these with my students next school year. If you use KEVA Planks in your classroom, comment below! I'd love to hear your ideas! If you don't already use KEVA Planks in your classroom, take a look at MindWare's website to get started. Click the image below to head there now!