Last March, I decided to invest in a LEGO Education set for my son, who loves building with LEGO bricks. The Simple Machines Pack for homeschool seemed like the most basic set and a good place to start. It did not disappoint.
It presents four sets of simple machines: gears, wheels and axles, levers and pulleys. The target audience is students in grades one through three, but my son was not even in kindergarten in spring and he had no trouble building.
Of course, he needed guidance. At times, it seemed the concepts went over his head, so I did not insist on the theory. I let him building and play with his creations. He really enjoyed predicting outcomes and then testing to see if he was right or wrong.
I could follow the lesson plans easily, even though I am not mechanically inclined. The binder contains the same information as the CD-ROM, but I would highly recommend you get both, for your convenience.
Wheels and Axles, the second lesson of simple machines in this activity pack, showed my son how to build a go-cart and a wheelbarrow.
Levers provided further fun learning, with models like a catapult and a railroad crossing gate.
Finally, the fourth simple machines: pulleys. This complex model on the left is called crazy floors. On the right, my daughter is enjoying her go-cart.
We have since bought the Simple and Motorized Machines Activity Pack for our son, so the Simple Machines set has become my daughter’s set by default. She cannot build yet all by herself, as she is only three.
She enjoys watching me build these models for her. I tell her what I need and she helps by handing me the right bricks and plates – great exercise for reviewing colors and numbers in both Romanian and English.
I highly recommend both these sets for your homeschool and, if your children are small, I would definitely start with the Simple Machines Pack first to test the waters. For more LEGO projects, click here.
I am looking at these sets. I wonder whether you feel the activity packs are necessary? These are the binders that spell out specific lessons to go along with the building sets. The homeschool packs put it all together, and cost a lot. But, you can buy just the sets with all the pieces and the instructions to build the different machines. We have the WeDo set and I didn’t feel that we got much from the lesson plans in the activity pack.
I thought I needed the lesson plans (the binder) especially because they have notebooking pages (so to speak) for the experiments and exercises. Otherwise what’s the point? They build and that’s about it. But the activity pack gives them vocabulary and principles and things to do with the things they build. Also, I am not very science-oriented. I’m more of a language arts person. So I felt like I had a science teacher holding my hand.
I also got the Simple and Motorized Machines pack (review coming eventually…) and did not buy the binder, in order to save money. I got the CD with the lesson plans instead. Well, I regretted it. It’s very awkward to navigate the CD and print out the student lessons, go back to the screen for the teacher part etc. So I would definitely buy the binder with whatever next set we get.
Can you tell me what set number this is? I’m trying to figure out which set to get for my son.
Laurie, so sorry. I am about one month late answering your question. It’s number 9689.
Great review! I had wondered what these sets where like, so I really appreciate your review.
Thanks. I have the Simple and Motorized Machine Set review to do as well. Eventually…