At Marble Genius, we love partnering with teachers to inspire learning in the classroom! Last week we had the chance to watch our marble run toys in action.
As part of a trip to California, we stopped by to visit our first Teacher Ambassador, Francie Kugelman (Mrs. K.) at Dahlia Heights Elementary School. Francie has been invaluable in providing input as we develop new products and has also connected us with hundreds of teachers across the U.S. through Caring Classrooms & Laura Candler’s Teaching Resources.
Francie wrote a great blog post explaining how she leverages STEM toys to teach Next Generation Science Standards. Her article is a must-read for teachers looking to expose their students to innovative ways to learn.
We were excited to visit her classroom in person!
When we arrived at Dahlia Heights, the students had already sorted 10 Marble Genius Extreme Sets in boxes. Francie gave final reminders to her 3rd grade students, including emphasizing the gravity concepts they would learn.
We carried the marble run boxes to the school's auditorium, where the students worked in teams of 3-5. Their objective was to build the biggest marble run they could, while making the marble reach the bottom as slowly as possible.
They had 15-20 minutes to build their structures and were instructed not to look at other teams' marble runs during this time. Each team had a stopwatch to test their runs and make adjustments.
After the initial build, each team gathered around the other teams' marble runs to make observations. One big takeaway was the importance of using certain pieces that slowed down the marbles (like the Round 'n Round piece). The slowest run at this point was about 30 seconds.
After the observations were complete, the students went back and made adjustments to their runs. This took 10 more minutes, and then we went back and tested each run. After the adjustments, the slowest run was 55 seconds long -- almost twice as slow as the slowest run from the first round!
Here's another picture of one of the many creative runs that were built:
At the end of the hour, the room buzzed with excitement and fun. And best of all, the students experienced hands-on learning and put their problem-solving skills to use.
This is just one example of many great uses for our marble run toys in the classroom. We're extremely thankful for all the educators who leverage our toys to inspire learning!
Special thanks to Francie and all the great teachers, administrators, and students we met at Dahlia Heights!
We're excited to announce that we have a FREE App to enhance your experience with all of our Marble Genius products!
While we recognize that our toys are "free play" toys like Lego that allow for infinite design possibilities, we've received requests for instructions that are easier to consume. We provide several guides with each of our products and have offered an 80-page manual available on PDF or Kindle, but we've long desired to provide visual instructions that are interactive and three-dimensional.
Enter the Marble Genius app!
Here's what you'll find...
As of the official release date of the app (May 16th, 2018), we have over 100 different projects across all of our toys and games, with four different skill levels (Beginner to Advanced). You'll find an introduction area for our Marble Run toys and Marble Maze games with both visual and video options.
Here's a breakdown of the rest of our products:
Every time a project is completed, you'll earn a badge with the Marble Genius Logo and check mark pictured below. This will help you keep track of projects you've completed and projects you haven't.
In addition to the 100+ projects in the app, we also have a number of different challenges and we'll continually add more, which will keep our toys and games fresh and exciting. Some of our current challenges include Circular Challenge, Single Color Challenge, Longest Jump Challenge, etc.
At the conclusion of every project or challenge, you'll have the option to take a picture of your project and share it with others on our app, through Facebook, or on the social media platform of your choice. Don't forget to tag us at #MarbleGenius so we can see too!
Our app is compatible with iPhones, iPads, Android Phones, & Android Tablets:
It would be a HUGE help if you could leave feedback in the form of an App review on either the App Store or the GooglePlay store! If there's anything that didn't meet your expectation or additional features you'd like to see, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll prioritize them accordingly.
We hope this app takes your Marble Genius fun to the next level!
Education expands our knowledge of the world and empowers us to make it better. It develops perspective and broadens our view. And it all starts with early childhood development.
The development of young children greatly impacts their overall growth, ultimately leading to the adults they'll become. That's why investing in your kids is so important. It not only enriches their lives now; it sets the stage for future well-being.
STEM LEARNING AND MARBLE RUNS
The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are more vital than ever before. STEM education combines the fields into a unified model that has real-world applications. The education is hands-on, problem-solving based, and designed to teach students new skills that can help them in the future. But the best part? It's fun!
Here at Marble Genius, we've heard from teachers across the country on how they've utilized our marble runs in the classroom. But learning doesn't have to be limited to a school building. Homeschooling parents or those looking to inspire learning through impromptu play can reap the educational rewards.
LEARNING WITH MARBLE RUNS AT HOME
Building a marble run is a lesson in creativity and patience. Your kids will learn how to focus and improve their memory and recall. The Marble Genius marble run toys are designed to enhance cognitive abilities and enable kids to learn while having fun. We're not the only ones who believe that, though.
HowToHomeschool.net recently evaluated hundreds of resources and products for their Best Homeschooling Resources & Curriculum list. Their desire was to not only encourage well-rounded learning, but to also equip parents with new ideas to make the education process fun and exciting. We're humbled and grateful to be included in the list.
Whether you send your kids off to school or you educate them at home, don't miss out on the fun ways you can inspire them to learn and grow. Your living room may just be the most effective learning ground.
For ideas to incorporate our marble runs into your kids' education or in a school classroom, be sure to check out our lesson plans HERE.
For most of us, the dog days of winter are making their presence felt through cooped up kids who love to say the three dreaded words…I AM BORED!!! Being parents ourselves, we've heard our fair share of “I am bored.” But how do we create engaging and active ways for them to play inside?
We feel strongly that it's important to get creative and not just put a screen in front of them for the winter. According to the market research firm Childwise, “Children aged five to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen compared with around three hours in 1995" (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32067158). This is unacceptable, but it's also easy to do. (We've been guilty of it ourselves at times.)
BEST TOYS FOR FIGHTING BOREDOM
There are lots of different types of toys you can buy for your kids, and the last thing you want is a closed-ended toy that they're done with after 10 minutes. Finding toys that are truly open-ended, giving them numerous ways to play and holding their attention for extended periods of time is extremely challenging.
Here are some ideas we have...
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP BREAK THE BOREDOM CYCLE
Sometimes we avoid buying open-ended toys because we see our children stop playing with them after the novelty has worn off. The most frequent question about a toy: “Will my child continue to play with it, or will it just collect dust?”
Let’s change our thinking here. If children stop playing with an item, we may think the failure lies with the toy. Really, no one is at fault. Maybe the child just isn't feeling inspired. They're human, and we can’t expect them to be creative all the time.
When we see that our kids are bored or ignoring their open-ended toys, we've personally found it helpful to start playing with the toys by ourselves. We don't invite them to join us, but they always end up joining. They’ll sit beside us and say, “Hey, Mom and Dad, look what I made!” The inspiration returns, without any nudging or direction. All we had to do was sit down and play first. It works every time.
Winter might challenge families to stay active, but with the right toys and a little creativity, you can turn boredom into a fun family experience.