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K'nex Education Roller Coaster Building Set Review by Audrey Tolle

K’nex
1-800-543-5639
2990 Bergey Rd
Hatfield, PA 19440
http://www.knex.com

As a mom of active and curious boys, I often seek out hands-on projects and manipulatives that they can build and create with that serve the purpose of working together, keeping them busy, and learning new concepts or ideas. I knew the Roller Coaster Building Set by K’nex Education would serve all of these areas and was excited to show them. As predicted, they were thrilled to open the box and begin to build the roller coaster set right away.

The Roller Coaster Building Set is designed for individual or classroom use and is geared toward ages 8 and up and grades 5-9. There are three different designs/experiments that can be built with the 546 included pieces and are designed with STEM exploration in mind (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). One thing we noticed right away is that connecting the pieces can be hard for those at the younger end of the targeted age range. I had all three of my boys, who have plenty of experience building with small pieces, ask me for help at various points of the building process and get frustrated when they couldn’t connect the pieces themselves.

Unfortunately, our box was missing some key pieces that we needed about halfway through the building process. We called the K’nex company, and they apologized and explained that those pieces were missing from several of the boxes that were produced, and mailed the missing pieces out to us right away. Customer service was very kind and professional; however, it was a big disappointment to my children to have to stop for a week while we waited for the missing pieces to arrive.

Once we had all the pieces, my boys really enjoyed creating the roller coaster, half-pipe, and ramp. There are lessons on the K’nex website that you can view or download to dig deeper into the project. For example, on the roller coaster, it suggests attaching different objects to the motor car to give it a different mass and to observe what the minimum height is where the car must start in order to make it through the loop. The experiments guide them through observing the relationship between time, distance, and speed.

The retail price of this set is $39.99, which I think is a fair price for the experience. The pieces are quality and should last through many uses. This kept my children’s attention and curiosity “rolling” for several days.

-Product review by Audrey Tolle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2017

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