Whens somebody mentions construction play, you may think of children being creative. Designing their own structures. Making something new.
That sort of play is beneficial and exciting for development.
It is known among child development professionals that block play may foster a wide range of abilities, including motor skills, spatial skills, language skills, and divergent thinking.
But not all play is free-wheeling. There is another way to have fun with construction toys, and it might help children develop a special package of skills.
It is called structured block play, and it’s what happens when children try to recreate a construction by consulting a model or blueprint. Kids must analyze what they see, perceive the parts that make up the whole, and figure out how the parts relate to each other.
To be really successful, kids also need to think quantitatively, and be able to rotate geometric shapes in the mind’s eye. To apply these STEM skills to our week of rockets, we created rockets out of a variety of materials.
We began with silver-painted Legos, moved on with silver painted cardboard tubes, and finished with creating rockets out of silver styrofoam.
Before creating this magnificent machines, we looked at several pictures of rockets (primarily those used by NASA). Some of these included the Improved Orion, the Black Bryant VB/VC, the Terrier-Malemute, and the Terrier-Oriole. We also learned about how rockets take off in stages. Lastly, we looked at various blueprints of the different machines, making whichever one we wanted to. This was a week-long project, as we experimented with different materials.