Friday, December 9, 2011

Travel Back to Medieval Times with Pitsco TOS Crew Review

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        Who doesn't love hands on homeschool projects? I know my kids flip over them. We were recently sent the Pitsco Medieval Machines Homeschool Pack which retails for $21.95, with much thanks to TOS Crew for once again finding awesome products for us to review. Pitsco is Hands-on, Real-world K-12 Curriculum in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. They have been in business for over 40 years and are one of today's leaders in hands on technology and learning. An interesting fact about the company is that all of their kits are produced in house in Kansas so this helps them to keep their prices down, which already gives them an A+ in my book.

    My kids could not stand waiting to put these together, but they did have to wait a bit as we needed to run out and get super glue to make sure once we assembled them that they stayed that way.

     The Project packs came with an instruction/ learning guide and all of the components to assemble not one but 2 Medieval Machines, one being a Trebuchet and the other a Catapult, we were also sent a box of clean clay to make the projectiles. There is also a larger kit available that includes over 21 hours of teaching materials and it sells for $64.95.  Now I don't know about you but our family is big into Angry Birds so this could not have come at a better time. The possibilities are endless when it comes to how you can use these projects once they are built.  The guide was wonderful as it not only showed us step by step how to assemble them but there are also lessons which incorporate science, social studies and a little math.

    We started out by laying all the pieces for our Trebuchet down on the table, the kids were almost giddy with excitement. Taylor was more anxious about making birds to fling than actually assembling the machine, but that is just how Taylor works. Alyx is more the mechanical one and Taylor is more about the fun. They work good together. We did find we needed a few tools to help us along as well. Such as wire cutters and a tool to bend the wire into the shape we needed, as well as a ruler and scissors.

   Once we assembled the machine it was time to go over some of the lessons, I wanted the boys to be serious about it and how it really worked and what made it function and such before we broke out the birds for some fun. It did take some adjusting on the size of the "boulders" that we made out of clay and how many weights we used and the angle of the sling before we truly got it to work. It sure was fun even with all the trial and errors.

   After all of the lessons and work, it was finally time to have some real fun. Their imaginations went wild and they built walls with foam blocks and wood blocks and Popsicle sticks and who knows what else. They had competitions where one would build and the other would try to destroy. It kind of reminded me of the 3 little pigs story.

  The next week we built the Catapult and had just as much fun although I forgot to take my pictures for that one since we knew what we were doing we just got to work and completely did not think of the camera. The boys are hoping for some more fun projects from Pitsco for Christmas and at their reasonable prices who can resist. I feel the kids gain so much from hands on learning like the opportunities that are offered from Pitsco that I can hardly say no. Are you hands on learners in your homeschool like we are? Then you have to check out all that Pitsco has to offer, they even have K-12 Curricula, Robotics, and my favorite Green Education and this is not all,  they have too many offerings for me to list. The next project on our list is the Wind Gen Kit and for only $12.95 I can't wait to put it under out tree.  Kits range in price from $10-80 with a few being a little higher but the average are around $20-$30. So there is really something for everyone's budget. You will just have to head on over to their website and check out everything there is to get your hands on for yourself. If you hurry  I am sure you could get it for under your tree for Christmas Day. Nothing better than combining presents with learning opportunities, well at least that is what I think.

   Be sure to head on over to the TOS Crew Pitsco post to see where the imaginations of my fellow crew members took them on their Medieval Machines Journey.

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