Children love to build! The Keva Planks have become very popular to use in classrooms. KEVA planks are about 1/4 inch thick, 3/4 inch wide and 4 1/2 inches long.
You build structures by simply stacking the planks. There is no glue and no connectors. Keva planks creations are meant to be temporary. Students can create beautiful works of art, towers and much more and half the fun is destruction.
From the Keva site, "Verbal skills and communication are enhanced as children construct projects together. Children must discuss their plans for the project and their new ideas as the project unfolds. Many structures follow a repeating pattern that encourages children to work together to make better progress. Any changes to the pattern require communication. Technical and artistic language is needed to build a project together."
The Keva Planks can be used in the Marble Run task card.
- Be able to create structures with the Keva Planks.
- Learn how to communicate with others while creating.
- Understand patterns while creating.
- Keva Planks: Keva Planks are maple blocks that are are about 1/4 inch thick, 3/4 inch wide and 4 1/2 inches long.
To prepare for this lesson:
- Purchase the Keva Planks. There are starter packs ranging form $14.95 to large classroom sets for $450.00.
- Look at the wide array of project ideas on the Keva site.
- View the lessons (PDF) on the Keva site.
- Decide if you would like to purchase the Keva Brain Builders.
- Read the Five Engineering STEM Challenges
- View the many ideas on Pinterest.
See the Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4students website in the Teacher Resources.
Directions for this activity:
- The Keva Planks can be introduced to the students.
- At first, let the students play and explore with them and see what they come up with.
- Then begin using them for project-based learning.
- Use the Keva Brain Builders for $16.95. There are full-color cards that include a 2-D building challenge on one side and the solution on the other.
- Post a challenge for students to create.
- Give them a bridge challenge. With one plank touching the table, build the widest structure.
- Use the Keva Planks for a Marble Run race.
- Do a Ping Pong Ball challenge. Create a structure to deliver a ping pong ball into a cup 12 inches away; advanced - change the ball direction 90°.
- Use them to create a maze for the Code and Go Robot Mouse.
- Set them up like dominos and see how many you can stack and knock them down.
Different options for assessing the students:
- Check for understanding
- Create rubrics for any projects that you might use the blocks for.
- How well the structure worked.
- Working well with others
- Communicating with others
MITECS Competencies & ISTE STANDARDS
MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.
4a. Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
4b. Students select and use digital tools to plan and manage a design process that considers design constraints and calculated risks.
4c. Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.
4d. Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.
Devices and Resources
CONTENT AREA RESOURCES
The students are building works of art with the maple Keva Planks.
Students can build sculptures with the Keva Planks.
Students can build a Musical Marble Run. KEVA planks make a neat sound when a marble lands on them and using staircase style marble runs can create a xylophone affect. Adding metal brackets throughout it will also enhance the sound effects.
Students are learning about patterns.
Recent studies confirm that children who actively play with blocks do better when they attempt higher mathematics such as algebra and calculus.
Students are learning basic engineering concepts.
Students can build bridges and learn to balance objects.
Students can build a marble run.
This task card was created by Andy Mann, REMC Director, Muskegon Area ISD and Melissa White, 21Things Project Manager. Updated October 2023.