Friday, December 9, 2011

Pitsco - a Review

Hands on is always good when you have an active ten year old and it's dark at 5 in the afternoon. I always try to find some fun hands-on activities for the kids to do this time of year, so they don't just continuously ask to watch tv or play the Wii. When we were given the opportunity to review Pitsco's "Medieval Machines Pack" I knew it was perfect for some hands-on activities for Paul as well as some time with Daddy!

The "Medieval Machines Pack" comes with a catapult and trebuchet to build as well as a "Siege Machines" book to help with some activities to add in science, math, and history in to the building and "playing" with these machines.

Steve set aside some time to build the catapult with Paul first. Even Pappy came over from next door to watch the building. It was great for the three of them to work together on a project. Paul loved the time with his two favorite men. I tried to stay out of their way but of course I had to sneak in and get a picture.

From Steve: "It was a great experience building the catapult with Paul. I enjoyed the time spent with him and it presented a good opportunity to teach him about early siege machines. However, it was more me building and explaining and him following along. He could not have built this himself."

They waited and built the trebuchet a few nights later (it actually took two evenings to build) Pappy was not available these two nights (He claims he is retired now so he has more time, but he seems to be busier since he has retired than he has ever been :-)

From Steve: "The trebuchet was a little tougher to build, the nylon thread and the paper-clip shaping that it required added another level of complexity that Paul could not have accomplished on his own. It did offer more great opportunity for discussing siege machines"

The "Medieval Machines Pack" is geared for 5th grade and up, and with Paul being a young 5th grader it required a little more patience than he had. The gluing and waiting was just too much for him, so Dad and Pappy were there to talk to while they waited. I think he would need to be a couple years older, maybe 12 or 13, before this is something he could do independently. But, it is definitely something a 5th grader can do with a parent and it made a wonderful learning experience as well as a way to spend quality time together.

All three kids had a blast "using" the machines, and it was really a fun and educational experience for the entire family. They catapult and trebuchet actually worked quite well. We compared the two and found the catapult can go further. We learned that the trebuchet was for going high and up over castle walls while the catapult is more for battering the walls. Paul and Zach thought this was great knowledge to have and have "battered" a few walls in our home with the clay balls (the clay was included in the kit!) we made for the machines. The machines are amazingly sturdy too. Anything that can stand up to Zach playing with it is pretty amazing!

The book on siege machines was a great way to further the study. I must admit that we have yet to do many of the activities in the book. The kids have had so much fun playing with the machines I have left it at that. We did a couple of the lessons on torsion and tension as well as averages. They were very well written and easy to follow. There are more lessons in their on metric conversion, force and motion, and more! We are going to add these in to our science and Math after the holidays.

Pitsco offers many wonderful products for combining history, science, math and technology. This kit is priced at only $21.95 and would make a great Christmas gift for a medieval enthusiast or an avid builder. You can also take a look around their website for lots of other hands-on projects that are fun and educational.

Be sure and go check out what other TOS Crew Members have to say about Pitsco here.

Disclosure: I recieved the above products for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions above are my own honest opinion. There was no other compensation given for this review.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Henry Cate said...

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