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Science, mathematics, & cooperative activities with K'Nex®

Contents Overview


This page includes ideas and activities that use K'Nex ® building materials to explore science, mathematics, cooperative learning, and team building. It includes models with: ramps, marble or sphere runs, coasters, simple machines, and bridges.

Assorted KNexSupporting units and activities


Ramps (incline) sample investigations - Down hill tracks

The K'Nex ® set Down hill thrill includes a track with a jump and one with four drops, the Devil's Drop course. This set was used for the investigations with the jump removed. Pages below include activities and teaching suggestion on motion and variables that affect: energy, energy transfer, speed, slope, mass, friction, gravity, and more.

Building hints & focus questions for all.

The Down hill ramp, without the jump, is used in explorations of:

  1. Long Track drift till stop
  2. Runs from Different Heights
  3. Hill Vibrations
  4. Crash and Slide

Ramp with jump

Down hill ramp Devil's Drop course

Down hill set

Actual down hill thrill set up


Building hints

Building Hints: Building the structure is fairly easy. However, fitting the track together can be a bit tricky, as the track can slide a bit along the yellow rod. I found, it was easier to put the rod in the desired position and twist the yellow K'Nex a bit to position it toward the center of a track.

Focus Questions by categories

Height related

Distance related

Jump and Roll



If you have two sets you can make two identical tracks and race one car against another. Or if you have an electronic timer, then you can time the runs.


Roller Coaster & ball run set activities

Coasters are different than the down hill ramps as they complete a circular coarse.

Simple Machines and other ideas

Cooperative Building activities

A group cooperative learning activity can be made by selecting one of the K'Nex Projects that would normally be fairly time consuming. I have done the K'Nex® Big Ball Factory and have had Pre service education majors do the K'Nex® Merry-Go-Round & graduate students use the Ferris wheel set.

Support resources:


Sets used for cooperative building

Big ball factory


Ferris Wheel

More sets



Sample K'Nex ® pieces

Connector pieces

Connector pieces

Different sizes of rods

Different sizes of rods


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
[Home: homeofbob.com & thehob.net ]