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Zometool Classroom Kit Review by Audrey TolleZometool Inc.
1040 Boston Ave
Longmont, CO 80501
If your kids are anything like mine, then they have probably at some point enjoyed building and creating with blocks, Legos, magnetic blocks, or some other type of building set. I cannot even begin to calculate the number of hours my children have spent creating with various building contraptions. Zometool takes building sets to a whole new level! The ingenuity that went into this award-winning product is off the charts. This design is unprecedented and can be used not only for play, but in education from preschool through post-graduate levels.
I had the opportunity to review the “Classroom Kit” by Zometool which contains over 1800 pieces, enough to service 20 students. It comes in a compact case with trays and dividers so that the pieces stay organized and are easy to find during use.
Our first use of this product was merely for play. We hosted several of our homeschool friends and brought out the Zometool kit and simply encouraged each child to build something while the parents visited. We had no expectations as we were working with children ages 5-10 and had never used the product before so we didn’t know what to expect. About 45 minutes later, the kids wanted us to come look at their projects, and we were surprised that the room was literally filled with creations. We were amazed at how much space their creations took up since the box that contained the pieces was so compact. We were equally as impressed by the amount of different angles that were possible and that children so young were able to incorporate them into their designs.
Once we got past our introduction to Zometool, we were able to incorporate educational concepts. The lesson topics that you can use Zometool for are seemingly endless, but some that we were able to explore for our age group of 10 and under included: 3D shapes, Rosettes, Cubes and Quasi Cubes, Spinners, Nesting Shapes, Tilings, Bubbles, and Modular Nets. Thankfully, we did not have to come up with these concepts on our own, the manual and website had numerous ideas of how to incorporate these and other concepts into art, science, and math including DNA strands, bridges, and complex geometric shapes.
Although I didn’t find an official age range for this product, I would recommend the Zometool for those ages seven and up. My reasoning for this is because of the fact that the connecting points of the struts (rods) are angled so that they only fit the node (ball) in a certain way. Because of the unique ends and the fine motor skills required to connect them to the node without forcing or breaking the tip, I would think that seven is the youngest that could manipulate these parts without an adult actively present. Even when using extreme care, it is possible for the connecting tip to break, however, the company will send replacement pieces if you mail them the broken ones.
We continue to be impressed by the endless building and teaching possibilities that Zometool provides. It gives students an opportunity to build in a 3D nature that is extremely captivating. It is a launching pad for creativity with the benefit of building spatial reasoning and problem solving skills. It has been a huge hit in our home and we bring out the case for family activity nights as well as for homeschool projects.
The price point of Zometool is higher than what you would spend on other building sets. This Classroom Kit retails for $399.00. But unlike other sets, you will not have to continuously buy more and more sets to add to the collection. They do not have a “build one predetermined thing only” mindset. They are an investment that will last you a long time. The sky is the limit as far as what can be created with this set. I look forward to seeing what creations and school lessons come about in our future with Zometools.
-Product review by Audrey Tolle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2016