Age level: Early, Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School
Description: This truly is one of the coolest building sets around, especially for art-loving youngsters. It contains 142 elements and 50 connectors that allow learners to build a huge range of structures. There are two other sets that may be more motivating for your particular learners, Art Igor which has a music motif and Wassily which has an alphabet motif. You can see all three sets here.
Skills & Modifications: ArtUris can be used to practice a wide range of skills. For some learners, I introduce it as an activity choice during breaks or free time. While I may not be directly teaching the skills listed below, they are still getting lots of practice with those skills while enjoying a break from the lesson that day.
– Scanning – This set allows learners to practice higher-order scanning skills that are more directly linked to what scanning looks like when needed in the natural environment. For many learners, I keep the pieces in the box so they have to sift through it to find what they need. For other learners, I spread the elements or reduce the number of elements available in order to meet thier current level of functioning with this skill.
– Symmetry – The elements included in this kit lend themselves nicely to creating people and animals. This is great practice for creating symmetry in structures, especially because when the learner is first exploring these materials, using symmetry is more likely to help them make the structure stand up.
– Motor Skills – For older learners who are struggling with fine motor tasks such as gripping with thumb and index finger or using two hands to complete a motor task, ArtUris provides fantastic age-appropriate materials to practice the task. Learners need to pick up the elements and use two hands to attach elements to connectors.
– Art Projects – I do introduce this as art rather than a game to most of my students. Because I use it with multiple students, we take pictures of the finished product so the student can have a tangible representation of what he/she created that day. Many of my students are more open to the difficult tasks presented in the game when it is introduced as an art project.
– Compare and Contrast – Art Uris provides fantastic materials for higher order compare and contrast tasks. You can have students compare and contrast individual elements or two complete structures. There are a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns offering multiple opportunities to create novel descriptions.
– Expressive Language – As mentioned above, the materials included with this game provide a wealth of opportunities for manding for specific items using adjectives, describing items, and describing how strucutres are built.
– Intraverbal Skills – I also use this kit to get kids involved in conversations. Because there are so many aspects of each element and structure to discuss, it allows for novel, multiple exchanges about one topic, a challenging skill for many learners with autism.
– Problem Solving – I frequently give learners challenges, then allow them to complete the challenge in an open-ended framework. For example, I may say “Build a structure that is only black and white,” or “Create an animal that has a four legs and a tail.” Problem solving skills can also be practiced as the learner addresses challenges that arise naturally in the activity, usually related to making sure pieces and connectors are placed correctly so the structure can stand.
– Logical Thinking – As mentioned above, one of the challenges presented by these materials is ensuring the structure can stand up. Learners must think about the weight, height, and placement of connectors in order to successfully have the structure stand. These materials are not flimsy, so the learners almost always successfully achieve this goal; and the materials are motivating enough that learners are willing to practice the very important skill of synchronizing multiple pieces of information to complete a task.
– Peer Play/Teamwork – I have used this to engage learners with autism and their siblings in completing a challenge. For example, I may ask them to create a truck. They work together to build the structure and make sure that it stands. I may facilitate this by giving the sibling some of the pieces I anticipate the learner with autism may need or by providing visual or verbal prompts to make sure the learner with autism is communicating with his peer or sibling. Peer play can also be addressed through having both learners build separate items and discuss them during and after, or by having both learners build related items that can then be displayed together.
– Flexibility – One of my favorite things about this set is that there are so many different pieces. Several of my students build the same things over and over when presented with a set of building materials. For example, one of my students builds the letter “T” whenever he is presented with Legos. With this set, I can present just a few pieces, or remove the pieces that are part of my learner’s routine. This allows us to break through the rigidity and create new structures, with the ultimate goal of generalizing that flexible thinking to other materials.
Pros: I love that this set can be used to create quite large structures or to connect two or more separate structures. The materials are durable and have been motivating for many of my students.
Cons: I can’t think of any cons for this game. Unique and durable materials, a large quantity of materials creating infinite opportunities for structures, and a reasonable price for all that’s included: what do I have to complain about?!
Cost: $28.36 You should invest in this game if: you are seeking age-appropriate materials to work on lower-level skills with learners, highly-motivating materials to incorporate into peer play, or unique materials for creating structures.
ABLLS: A10, C46, C55, F11, F16, G22, H43, L4, L8, L13, L23, Z6, Z9,Z25
VB-MAPP: VP-MTS 5, Social Behavior and Social Play 4, Independent Play 10, Social Behavir and Play 9, Social Behavior and Play 10, Mand 13, Tact 13, Independent Play 14, Social Behavior and Play 13, Social Behavior and Play 15