The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
|With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.||
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Tess Hamre and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!
UberStix® Review by Rebecca Huff and Kevin DaytonUbergeo®
P.O. Box 3351
Hailey, ID 83333
You've always dreamed of being an architect or scientist but things just never worked out for you; well, now it is time to live vicariously through your children! How? By introducing them to UberStix® of course! UberStix® is the most diverse building product you can buy!
All UberStix® products are made to work with recycled items such as straws, Popsicle® sticks, paper cups, paper clips, water bottles, rubber bands, egg cartons, juice bottles, yogurt cups, etc. If your children can think it up they can build it, create it, and experiment with UberStix®. This might just be the impetus your child needs to launch them into that career in science or architecture!
Another cool thing about UberStix® is that they can be used with Lego®, KNeX®, Erector sets, Zoobs®, Zome®, etc. which makes it easier for children to expand on sets they already have! It's amazing how versatile UberStix® products are! UberStix® pieces have cool names too, like Quark, I-Stix, Bottleneck, Piratestix, Birdhub, Lochub, Popstix, etc. so you don't have to say, "Hand me one of those flat long thingies."
There are many different UberStix® kits, such as Ubergeo from the Science Project Series. The Ubergeo has everything you need to build Uber flying objects and is recommended for children age 8 and up. It comes with 322 pieces which can be used to make an unlimited number of projects, even a 3-D geometric shape! The Science Project Series come with Lab Sheets so children (and adults!) can learn scientific stuff, like Bernoulli's Principle. Bernoulli's Principle is the law, discovered by Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782) which states that when air speeds up, its pressure is reduced, and when air slows down its pressure is increased. The lab sheet has a dictionary of terms to educate children in a fun and exciting way! Children can test and prove or disprove their hypothesis, theory, or assumption by keeping track of their experiments on these lab sheets. The importance of this is to improve the performance of the model they are working on. All of this is explained in detail on the lab sheets that come with the set.
In addition to all the cool stuff in the box, the company website has free downloads of their basics booklet which will help you understand the ins and outs of building with UberStix® and how they relate to each other.
There is also a Basic Construction 101 available to help you understand things like using Quarks, making joints, and so on. This is when you put on your architects hat and discover how to strengthen and support what you build. Changing over to your scientific hat you can download projects from the Science Project Series Page for free! With these projects you can learn many different scientific principles (enough to keep you in science projects all year) and document them on the lab sheets, which are also free downloads on the website.
UberStix® are great for hands on learners. If you have never been a science fan, you will change your mind once you get started with UberStix®. Everyone can join in the fun! See how tall you can build it, how far you can fly it, how good you can float it, and learn without even realizing it!
When you first open the box and see all the pieces and the instruction sheet it can be a bit overwhelming. I kept putting off the grand unveiling of the contents of the box until a Sunday afternoon when I felt that I would have time to tackle what looked like some kind of Geometry problem gone bad! However, once it was opened and my son began to follow the step by step instructions, I could breathe a sigh of relief. What we loved most about UberStix® is that it will take you as far as your imagination will allow you to go. We also liked the fact that if you break a piece of your UberStix® you can just file it down and have a new (unique) piece! You see--they are actually meant to be modified!
For children who enjoy building, UberStix® will keep them busy for hours on end. My 10 year old son especially liked the scientific aspect as he is always asking me to do more science projects with him! Even children who have not been interested in building in the past will enjoy using UberStix®. The kits come in all sizes, and you can purchase extra pieces of your favorite parts. They are reasonably priced; even the huge sets are affordable for a birthday present! Now I just have to save up for the "BERARC 1600" (1600 piece kit), a Complete Professional Construction Kit from which you can build a skyscraper from real blueprints or design you own!
Product review by: Rebecca Huff, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2008.
And a review of one of their smaller sets:
UberStix® describes its product as "the most amazing building system on the planet." The system is comprised of various interlocking plastic parts in black, yellow, and red. UberStix® claims the pieces will "work" with other building systems such as Legos or with "recycled materials" such as straws or water bottles.
The set we tested was the "Uberdragon." The pieces came in a small box with assembly instructions, promotional materials for other sets, an educational sheet about mechanics, and instructions on how to propel food with UberStix®. There was also an UberStix® sticker.
The box indicates an appropriate age of 6 and up, but I felt it was appropriate to test with my five-year-old son, who is quite mechanically inclined and will spend hours concentrating on mastering instructions for relatively complicated assembly projects. We worked together to assemble the dragon for the first time.
It takes some time to understand the spatial relationship between the UberStix® pieces. What's interesting about the pieces is that they hinge together so they can move. It was a challenge to keep the dragon upright after it was assembled, and the dragon itself was somewhat abstract and clunky. My son and I created some smaller dragons and a communications antenna, but overall the options seemed somewhat limited.
After my son had the Uberdragon pieces stored in a convenient plastic box in his room for a few months, I brought it out to assess his long-term interest in it. Obviously he had worked with it, as he was able to assemble the dragon quickly without looking at the instructions, but he responded "not often" when I asked him how frequently he used it. He sees that he cannot make many things with UberStix®. He did, however, enjoy the round sticker, which uses UberStix® pieces to evoke a skull and crossbones symbol.
I felt the UberStix® pieces were a little too abstract to make a satisfying creation, and I was frustrated in trying to get creations to stand. I couldn't figure out how to make the UberStix® "work" with my son's Legos either, and in any case, I didn't see aesthetic value in combining different building systems.
If your child shows exceptional interest or promise in mechanical engineering, you could introduce your child to UberStix® as one of a variety of building systems. But I prefer Legos, Erector sets, or even basic old blocks.