My Strawbees came into the mail today! How exciting! I ordered the 368 piece kit for $50.
I opened the box to my only complaint about the item. It contained sheets of the connectors. I had to hand pull off every single piece with a kit of 368 pieces. It made me wish I had a volunteer handy. Make sure you have a hole punch because the middle circles of each piece all need to be taken out too.
All the pieces were separated into small Tupperware containers for later use and I got to work.
|Engineering attempt #1|
|Laying it out on the floor helps connect the pieces|
The propeller in my first design wouldn't stand up so I evenly added circles to try to make it sturdier. When that failed, I cut the straw in half to balance the weight. These are all good thinking aloud examples to act out. When that didn't work I concluded that I was using two different straw types with size and width so perhaps the bottom wasn't sturdy enough.
To turn my cube into the helicopter, it required a one connector, two connector, circle and 3 way connector at each of the 4 corners of the cube. The package comes with yellow and white connectors, it doesn't matter which color. The top of the copter required a 5 connector piece and a one connector piece.
|Engineering attempt #2|
I don't think 4 year olds would master this product without help. It does take some force to put straws in the middle circle (depending on size of the straw) and to lock some of the strawbee parts together.
This has great potential to add to a makerspace cart in your library for drop in programming. Just beware of choking hazards and be prepared for missing pieces ending up in the vacuum.
For a long term investment, you can also buy the accu-cut to make your own pieces, that way kids could take them home.