Hone Your Civil Engineering Skills on Simulated Earthquakes
The Aftershock! Earthquake Lab from Smart Labs teaches kids how to build structurally sound buildings that survive earthquakes. Each of the yellow tracks is an earthquake of varying magnitude. Insert the yellow track at the base and press the green button. The track will shake the platform simulating an earthquake. Try several iterations of your buildings to see if your building design can withstand the vibration.
IQ Key’s Detailed Design Kits
The design kits from IQ Key help young kids understand design engineering principles behind different industries. Each kit has varying model configurations with each configurations designed to promote a different science principle. For example, the Green Solar kit creates different solar-powered models that instruct how solar energy can be used for different mechanical designs, and the Space Mars helps instruct kids how different designs will aid in the exploration of other planets.
Mini BattleBots Bring Robot Wars to Your Living Room
The professional maker space of BattleBots is now available for young STEM enthusiasts. BattleBots is one of the most famous venues for DIY engineers to create fighting robots and now they have introduced a modular robotic kit for kids to build their own fighting bots. These kits can create different bots that are remote controlled for battle. The body pieces of the bots are simple snap designs that house an electronic motor and sensors for remote controlled robot fights.
The Engineering Experiment Kits from Thames & Kosmos
By far, the largest inventory of engineering kits came from the Thames & Kosmos booth. These experiment kits span a wide range of engineering topics including remote-control machines like race cars and construction equipment, robotic-arm build kits, bridge-building kits, and electricity experiment kits. Each kit is intended for kids to rely on self-building skills while highlighting specific areas of physics education.
Physics Pro and Workshop Introduce Aerodynamics and Mechanics
My favorite kit has to be the Physics Pro and Workshop kit. Here, kids can learn the basic mechanic principles like gear building and power transfer to aerodynamic principles like the design of an airplane wing. Kids can even build their own wind tunnel to test aerodynamic principles on model planes.
Building Robotic Systems with K’NEX Sensors
K’NEX has been a favorite STEM toy for years. This robotic system kit from K’NEX introduces young kids to world of sensors. The kit includes a color light sensor, a distance sensor, and a pushbutton sensor. The kit also has four motors, LED light, and a digital control box. The out-of-the-box build is available in four different configurations, but of course you can construct anything you can imagine.
The 10-in-1 Rotokontrol Kit Provides Helicopter Flight
The Rotokontrol Kit from K’NEX provides kids with their very own drone. You can build a four-blade drone that can fly via remote control. The drone can connect to 10 different models and provide motorized forward drive to motorcycles, four-wheel car, and even a four-wheel robot.
The Programmable STEM Robots from UBTECH
Last year we were introduced to the robots from UBTECH, specifically the Inventor Kit and the Alpha 1 Pro. Those robots were programmable via pick-and-place programming. The robot on display this year was the Buzzbot and the Blockly Programming app. The Blockly Programming teaches kid how to learn coding via simple and straightforward programming blocks. The robotic education for the engineering workforce for tomorrow is UBTECH’s goal as in the next 20 years, 47% of the U.S. workforce will be automated.
Toy of the Year Finalist: The Arckit
The Arckit is ideal not just for professionals as model home displays, but also for education purposes. The snap-together pieces provide a diverse range of model structures, modern interiors, and exteriors, and adhesive sheets to add realistic building finishes. Due to their professional use and educational purposes, the Arckits were nominated for Toy of the Year Finalist.