Frequently asked questions
About K'NEX Sets
What is the difference between K'NEX Education Sets and K'NEX sets sold at toy stores?
K'NEX Rods, Connectors and trim pieces used in both K'NEX Education and K'NEX retail sets are universal. You can combine parts from any and all K'NEX Sets and use them to create anything you can imagine. The difference between the two types of sets is that K'NEX Education sets are designed with the express purpose of being used as a classroom tool rather than an individual child's toy. K'NEX Education Sets contain curriculum support materials, developed and tested by award-winning educators in classrooms across the country. These curriculum materials provide lesson plans detailing how to integrate K'NEX into lessons to teach concepts such as simple machines, amusement park technology, potential and kinetic energy, space exploration, fractions, measurement, and much more. These sets also contain multiple K'NEX parts and instructions so that groups of students can build models and study these concepts simultaneously.
What if a K'NEX piece is accidentally swallowed by a child?
K'NEX building sets are NOT appropriate for children under 3 years of age. All K'NEX pieces are non-toxic and do not contain hazardous chemicals. If accidentally swallowed, the K'NEX part should pass through the child. The parts have rounded edges to help prevent scratching in the digestive tract and are designed with opening perforations so the child should be able to breathe if the part is lodged in an air passage. See a doctor immediately if there is any indication the child is having trouble breathing!
What are Micro K'NEX?
Micro K'NEX are the smaller version of standard (classic) K'NEX. To help you tell the two sizes apart, the micro and standard shapes are always different colors. For example, a standard red three connector (a corner piece with three connection points and a hole) is yellow in the micro scale.
Where are K'NEX parts made?
90% of K'NEX parts are made in the USA at the K'NEX factory in Hatfield, PA.
How do K'NEX designers build the big display models?
Very carefully! All display models have an internal support structure made entirely from cubes built with blue rods and connectors. The support structure, or K'NEX cubes, prevents the display models from twisting or crumbling as they get bigger. The skin, or outer layer of the display, is made up of unique combinations of K'NEX parts. They're what give the cubes the final shape and look needed to create reality with the structure.
How is K'NEX different from other leading brick construction toys?
While there are a number of other brick construction toys, K'Nex is different in the following ways:
K'Nex can be used to make any objects - the only limit s the imagination and creativity of the builder! Being versatile means that you can always pull apart segments and transform the model to a different one in a few snaps instead of starting over! For example, kids can transform from a sail car to a race car in a few minutes with a few snaps.
K’nex also offers unparalleled ability to construct structures which are able to move. Rollercoaster design is one of the most popular within the Knex community; so popular, in fact, that K'nex USA hosts a thrill ride design contest open to grade school classes and with a prize of amusement park tickets!
2. Ease to make large models with much less pieces than others
What's especially unique about K’Nex is the ability for anyone to make impressively large models. While other toys can in principle be used to make large scale models, in practice the amount of pieces and time required to do so renders it infeasible for builders and young builders.
Take this bridge 14 ft. long bridge for example - see how few pieces were needed to make this elegant bridge. Such a structure is well within the grasp of any junior K’nex builder without the need for specialized sets or an inordinately large number of pieces.
3. Light-weight and Portable
Even for a 6 ft. x 6 ft. large model, it is very lightweight compared to other toy systems, and can be lifted by one hand and to be transported - to take home, to a different classroom, or to the assembly hall.
4. K'Nex is three-dimensional
The fundamental building principle of K'Nex is three-dimensional - this means that builders can build in any direction, as compared to other toy systems whose building principle is one-dimensional - builders can only build upwards by stacking bricks on top of each other.
In contrast, K’nex snap together via the knobs on the ends of the rods or via the ridges along the length of the rod- giving two principle means of connecting pieces and allowing almost any 3-D configuration imaginable.
5. See the structures inside!
K'Nex is built by rods and connections - this means that builders can see the structure of the models, compared to other toys system that are opague. This helps students and young builders to learn how the system works, from gears to pulleys to lever, building their structural engineering knowledge from the get-go.
What's more is that if something doesn't work (e.g. the wheel is not moving), it is easy to see what it goes wrong!
Read more debates on: https://bit.ly/2MV5tYQ
I lost a part. How can I replace it?
If you are ready to build again and find parts are lost or broken, contact us and we would be glad to assist you.
Do you ship overseas?
We only ship to schools for oversea orders. If you are a school located outside of Hong Kong, please contact us and we are happy to discuss with you.
Do I have to be home to receive the delivery?
No, you do not have to be home to receive the delivery if there is someone like a doorman who can collect your delivery for you. Please remember though that we are not responsible for any missing or damaged goods after they have been left at your premises.
How are the curriculum materials in the K'NEX Education Sets structured?
The curriculum materials included in the K'NEX Education Sets vary based on the subject matter. For most sets, the curriculum is presented to the teacher in the form of the Teacher's Guide. This manual provides the lesson objectives, background information for the specified topics, student activities with reproducible worksheets, methods for assessment and lesson extensions. For these sets, students work in teams to build the models from the building instruction booklets or cards and then take direction from the teacher for experimentation and investigation. Examples of this are: the Intro to Simple Machines and Intro to Structures: Bridges series, Forces, Energy & Motion, and Amusement Park Science & Technology. Other sets have curriculum that presents the concepts and activities directly to the students in the form of Activity Cards. The cards provide the background information about the concept, written to the student, as well as directions for investigation and experimentation with the models they build. The students work independently, in teams, through the activities on the cards, using the Reference Cards for support. They provide feedback to the teacher for assessment in the form of written assignments such as journals and oral presentations. The teacher does not have to be actively involved in the individual lessons. Examples of this are the Simple Machines Deluxe Set and Primer Math sets. K'NEX Education's new Collectible sets offer teacher's guides separately. For a comprehensive list of guides that are sold separately please see FAQ #9. For examples of the curricula, please visit the Lesson Plans section of this web site and download sample lessons from various K'NEX Education Sets. In some sets, such as Exploring Machines and Forces, Energy & Motion, teams of students can build the same model simultaneously. In other K'NEX Education product offerings, this is not the case. We offer numerous opportunities for students to investigate the topics by including multiple models that demonstrate the same concept. This allows them to understand the concept universally as opposed to just related to one particular model. For example with the Simple Machines Deluxe Set, if you are teaching 1st-class levers, your students can build a balance, see-saw, catapult, handcart, rowboat, and scissors; all of which function in the same manner as the real-life objects they replicate. In the lessons, teams of students build and experiment with the different models. Then the groups can share what they learned with the class to establish how this idea applies to a variety of different things in the real world. This will help them understand the concept as a whole, not just how it applies to one particular example. We also encourage you to have the students build models of their own design, based on the concepts they are studying. This allows them to use their creativity to demonstrate their understanding of the concept being studied. This also serves as a performance-based assessment tool.
How do I integrate K'NEX Education Sets into my lessons?
K'NEX Education Sets are designed to be open-ended and flexible. There is no right or wrong way to integrate them into your lessons. The Teacher Guides offer detailed information for how to execute the lessons. In many cases, you can open the book and teach without adding anything to the information presented there. You may need to spend some time reviewing the guides first to determine which topics fit into your curriculum. You will most likely not present everything included in the set to the students.
How do I structure my instruction to receive the maximum benefit from my K'NEX Education Set?
K'NEX Education Sets provide materials that support a variety of instructional models in the classroom. Some teachers use the sets to support full class activities, some use them as part of a modular program, and still others set up science or math centers that revolve around a particular K'NEX Education Set. The descriptions of the K'NEX Education Sets outlined on the web site and in the catalog specify the number of students the sets support. You can use this information to determine your particular needs. If a set supports 20 students, you can use it with an entire class. If a set supports 12-16 students, you may use it as a modular activity or science center or purchase more than one for use with the whole class. New Collectible Education Sets are designed for 2-3 students working as a team. These sets were designed to allow students to set up a work station or to collect sets over the course of the year to acquire a classroom solution. These sets allow one model to be built at a time. Examples- Simple Machines Deluxe supports 20 students. Organize the class into five groups. Each group focuses on a different type of simple machine i.e. levers or gears and completes the models and activities for that machine. At the conclusion of their investigations, the groups rotate to another station. When all groups have completed the rotation, have students present their investigations and findings to the class. Forces, Energy and Motion supports 12 - 16 students. This set provides materials to build four identical vehicles simultaneously. Assign 3 to 4 students to each group for activities. Each group investigates the same concepts with the same models as directed by the teacher. If you would like to use this activity with an entire class of 24 to 32 students, we would suggest that you purchase two of these sets.
Can these sets be integrated into my everyday lessons or are they designed for supplementary activities?
Some K'NEX Education Sets support existing curriculum while others are so comprehensive they can completely supplant existing units in the curriculum. K'NEX Education Sets are intended for use with students of all ability levels. Beyond the lessons that are included in the various sets, there are extensive opportunities for the teacher to design creative activities that motivate and challenge students in many settings. Educators successfully use K'NEX Education Sets in a variety of settings: Science, Technology, Math, and Gifted classrooms, home school environments, college classrooms, community outreach centers, etc. Many educators use K'NEX Education Sets as part of contests and competitions.
How can I turn parts management into a lesson for my students?
Turn the potential problem of material management into a great lesson for your students by selecting a few to be your inventory control team. On a weekly or bi-weekly basis, have the team count the components to determine if any are missing and make the sets orderly. Explain the importance of materials management, inventory control and the need for accuracy in counting. All businesses must keep close track of their inventory and components to ensure that they have the materials they need to make their products, fill orders for their customers and deter theft.