Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teacher Geek- Buggin' Out!

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They had me at Teacher Geek. 

As both a teacher and a geek, their very name made me want to see what they have to offer. After checking out their site, I was sold. If you read their very first page, they answer the question Why Teacher Geek? with "Because we sell the best products to teach valuable concepts. We know the best way for students to learn is through experiencing the whole cycle: understanding concepts, designing, engineering, and most importantly improving: redesigning and innovating. We sell innovative products that teach students about engineering, math, science and technology while being just plain fun."  They're speaking my language. I'm not a math or science geek but I am all about learning by doing and having FUN!

We received a "Catch the Bug" single bug kit to try.  The kit came with almost everything you need to build it, but you will want to check the What Else Do I Need? list on the website.  We went searching in vain for solder before realizing they had included some for us for the review process. Don't be caught without your solder. It could be embarrassing. 

Originally I thought all five of the kids could work on it together but soon came to realize it was really a one man project (with a little brother help now and then)*.  If you decide to give it a try, you'll want one per kid if at all possible (adult supervision required).  My sixteen year old attacked the project for an afternoon and really enjoyed it. The instructions packets were thorough, visually appealing, and nicely laid out. He did not have to scratch his head to try to figure out what they were wanting him to do and successfully built the bug without issue.  When it was built, all the kids had fun sending it zooming off around the house. They loved that it would redirect itself when it hit a solid object. In fact, they had so much fun, they wore out the battery in one day!








My son's only complaint was that he would have liked some kind of cover to hide all the wiring and make it look more presentable (visually appealing matters to him. Yep, he's my son). After poking around on their web site, I think I know why they keep it so basic. Here's what I found; "Here's the really cool part: You can design our products to look however you want. There's no set way our Easy Engineering projects have to go together. Our labs get you started, but you can go anywhere from there. Each creation can—and should—be unique!"  Son, if you want it to look cool, you can feel free to get on that. Go design your own cover!

This is a fun way to teach:
  • Circuits
  • Parts of a circuit
  • Series circuits
  • Parallel circuits
  • Electron flow/operation
  • Current
  • Voltage
  • Resistance
  • Switches
  • Schematic representation
At $22.98 each, or a 10 pack for $63.94 ($6.39 a bug), it's a fairly economical way to do some hands on teaching as well. All in all, we liked what we saw and really appreciated the very clear instructions. I just wish batteries lasted longer!

*Females are more than capable of wiring up this cool little bug!  In this case, it just happened to be the 16 year old boy and his 9 year old brother. No sexism implied. ;-)




*Disclosure:  I received this product at no cost for review purposes. A positive review was nor required, merely an honest one.*




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