The Newton Science and Technology Club first used K'NEX in 1996. A large K'NEX set was purchased, and a number of K'NEX challenges were developed. The challenges were used in two settings:
1. At regular meetings of the Club.
2. Within the Club's summer playscheme.
The challenges used at Club meetings each lasted about 45 minutes. All club members took part, with ages ranging from 5 to 11. The objective of the challenge was explained to the children verbally, and they then worked in pairs to complete it. A member of staff was available to help any children in learning to use K'NEX, and in solving any problems that they might encounter in completing the challenge. Older children were also encouraged to help the younger children.
A rather different approach was taken in the playscheme, held in the local primary school. Here, K'NEX challenges were provided at regular intervals throughout the week, alongside other activities such as sports, arts, crafts and story-telling. In dry weather, the challenges were completed in a shaded outside area, and in wet weather, in a classroom. Children chose to participate in the K'NEX challenge as and when they liked, in groups of two or more. Often after completing the challenge, the children would devise new K'NEX challenges of their own, and then work happily together on them for long periods.
In both the Club and Playscheme settings, girls and boys of all ages enjoyed the challenges, and parents commented that they often wanted to continue their K'NEX-building at home.
A number of the children taking part in the Club meetings and playschemes had learning difficulties. Once they had mastered the basic techniques of joining K'NEX rods and connectors, they too enjoyed the K'NEX challenges, and in some cases proved to be very capable K'NEX builders. ^Top