Keva Marble Mazes & Mining

After lunch I was going to get Alec and Ian to do some more schoolwork when I saw that Alec and Evan had pulled out our Contraptions box of blocks and were working on building marble mazes with them.

My boys love Keva blocks and we've bought a few sets over the years.

The next thing I knew all three boys were all building with them.

They each made their own thing and had a ball.  They were problem solving, planning, adjusting, and comparing their structures.  They came out pretty neat too.  Evan built his in stages, trying out each stage before moving onto the next.

The rug wasn't working well for balancing blocks

we moved to the table and started small

he got a bit higher
He added a jump

He pulled the box over to catch his ball
Ian's garage had a whole story to go along with it and I learned that the owner of the garage's wife was not happy with him because he had so many trucks and loaders.  It was cute.  He also used other items like sticky notes to help build his garage.

His owner was out for a drive checking on his job site. 

We settled down to watch Dig Into Mining and learned all about copper mines.  We learned so much watching this 1 hours special and we can't wait for part 2 to come out.

  • We learned about the different types of rock, the rock cycle and how geologists study rocks.  
  • We learned about all the jobs associated with mining, the different ways they keep mines safe, and their impact on the environment.  
  • We learned about all the ways we use metals in our everyday life as well.  
  • They had scientists showing how they take core samples, how they study core samples and what they use the samples for.  
  • They showed us tests they run on rocks and minerals to determine what types of minerals they are.  
  • We learned that diamonds are the strongest and talc is the weakest and their rating on a Mohs scale of mineral hardness. 
 It was pretty fascinating.  Ian is more determined than ever to mine now.  After the show there was a small interactive page called Metals in Your Everyday Life and he got to read through the different ways we come into contact with metals and check off the ones he uses.

While we were watching the video Alec was still hard at work on his marble run.

He ended up dismantling Ian's garage to have enough pieces to finish his.   Alec used Evan's blocks to add to his structure too and complained that even with the whole box of blocks he still didn't have enough pieces to build what he had planned.  He modified his structure, ran a few last balls through and declared it done. 

It's really shaping up now. 

For the final touch, he too used the box
 to catch his ball

The completed ball tunnel
The younger boys  would have played some more but they heard Ian start up the movie and they decided to watch The Magic School Bus Under Construction and learned about building bridges.

We'll be putting what they learned today to use tomorrow when they build a nice strong bridge out of toothpicks and marshmallows. 


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