While searching for goodies to add to the Halloween bags I make for the neighborhood kids I stumbled across some INCREDIBLE STEM kits at Five Below! In addition to K'NEX helicopter kits (for $5 each) they had solar robot kits and DIY motor kits (race cars and motorcycles) all for $5 each. The solar kits are a bit complicated and appear to be more time consuming. They have very small parts and will require significantly more focus and patience than the DIY motor kits. The directions are also black and white pictures that are small and do not have any written instructions included. What I love about the motor kits is that they come with all the pieces and tools! I won't have to buy a class set of screwdrivers and wrenches for the students to use when building. In addition, the parts list and directions are colored photos. I feel as though written directions could be valuable and the screws could be better labeled, but all in all, the better quality photos make for easier to understand instructions.
These kits are low priced and perfect for after school clubs or enrichment activities. Most parents are OK with contributing $5 towards a project the students will be able to keep. These kits come in a lot cheaper than on-site field trips too. Most on-site field trips do NOT allow you to keep the project either. I plan on purchasing 10 to 12 of the DIY motor kits to use with my middle school gifted group later in October.
My husband and I started the DIY Race Car kit and the DIY Motorcycle kit last night. My husband made it thorough step A before calling it quits and claiming his fingers were a bit too big. I made it halfway through my project in about an hour before taking a break for the night. I look forward to finishing it tonight (and then finishing his) so that I can race them at home and display them in my classroom to build interest in both at home educational activities and my gifted day.
All in all these were a great find for middle and high school students. I can't wait to post how the projects turn out later in October!