Master Brick Academy @Home FAQs

MBA In-Person, FAQsMBA @Home, FAQs
 

 
How do I sign up for Master Brick Academy Virtual Classes?
  • Start by checking out the Free Sample Class and purchasing a 2021 Technic Kit from us. The kit includes a link for the a first free month of classes.
  • Call (865) 250-8560 if you need additional information.
What ages are best for Master Brick Academy @Home? 
  • Our programs are designed for kids in Elementary school. Youngest are usually in Kindergarten, and oldest usually in 5th grade. Each week's model build has multiple difficulty levels for different building skills, and advanced models also include options for coding the model.
 
Are there different membership types at Bricks 4 Kidz Knoxville?
Yes. We offer 3 different convenient options:
  • In-Person Membership -- classes at our activity center | $79/month
  • @Home Membership -- online classes | $39/month
  • Bundled In-Person w/@Home Membership. | $99/month
See the In-Person membership page for more information about In-Person and Bundled Membership.
 
Are there any special benefits to Master Brick Academy Virtual?
  • The virtual class members have access to the weekly build as well as the 3 previous weeks builds.
  • To receive discounts on camps & events as well as cool take-home goodies, see the In-Person and Bundled Membership details.
What are the prices for Virtual Classes?
  • $39/month (STEAM Builders, Jr Robotics)- available the week of November 2- Kit required, sold separately.
What days and times do classes meet? 
  • Classes are prerecorded so they can be completed at your convience during the week.
How do recurring payments work?
  • The system will automatically charge your card for recurring membership once-a-month until you cancel.
What if I have credit from last spring?
  • Several of our families still have class credit from this past spring. Please contact us if you'd like to use your credit toward virtual classes. Class credit cannot be applied toward the Kit or other retail products.
What if my child misses a week?
  • Classes are available for 4 weeks
Can I just use parts from home for virtual classes?
  • Unless you've purchased a lot of technic models over time, it's not likely that you'll have everything you need. Some sets that have similar parts and are relatively affordable are: LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox (set 17101) and the LEGO Star Wars (Boost) Droid Commander (set 75253). Even so, having either or both sets will not give you the complete Technic Kit. A smart kid with some creative innovation could build something similar to what we show in our instructional videos, but may still have some points of frustration without the exact pieces readily on hand.
What pieces are in the 2021 Technic Kit?
  • Our 2021 Technic Kit is made up of over 210 hard-to-find LEGO Technic pieces that aren't available in a similar kit anywhere else. We purchase these in bulk from LEGO or distributors who work with LEGO. This includes 40 Technic Bricks (LEGO bricks with pin/axle holes in the sides); 24 gears, cams, and pulley wheels; 13 liftarms, 22 axle & pin joiner, connectors, and spacers; 74 axles, pins, and axle/pin combos, a brick separator, a 16x16 buidling plate, and several other miscellaneous parts.
How is the "2020 Technic Kit" different than the "2021 Technic Kit"?
We added a dozen more pieces to the 2021 kit:
  • 2 more cranks and pin connectors (the pieces we use for the "hand cranked" models -- we're finding these are also great for other functions besides just being cranks!),
  • 6 of the "Pole Reverser Handle" so we can phase out the Axle Connectors we've used -- we find the old style axle connectors just break too easily, and the Pole Reverser Handle is essentially the same piece but with an axle already built in, and is therefore more reinforced from the get-go
  • 4 of the 2x4 Tech plates ... there are so many models that we'd love to have had something bigger than a 1x4 plate, or smaller than a 2x8 plates, that this just makes sense!
How much do kits cost?

 
 
Purchasing Materials for Home Use with Virtual Classes
 
Kit Purchase and rental
Our 2021 Technic Kit is exclusive to our facility. Through our Duckingham Design label (Mr. Chris's freelance LEGO model design company) we design all of the models we use. 
 
Families with children taking STEAM Builders or Jr Robotics level classes (K-5th) may purchase the 2021 Technic Kit for personal use. Families may also bundle access to the virtual version of our class to allow their child to continue learning with each week's model at home. For STEAM Builders, families will also need a Power Functions motor and battery pack, available from us or from lego.com or other online sources. For Jr. Robotics, families will need a Powered Up motor and a Hub (there are several different hubs available -- more about that below).
 
Power Functions Motor & Battery Pack
We have used the LEGO Power Functions Motor & Battery Pack for the past 7 years in our program. LEGO is slowly discontinuing it, replacing it with the Powered Up system, but the Motor & Battery Pack are still available directly from LEGO and other sources, and still a great product to introduce motorized LEGO building with.
We keep a limited stock of new motor & battery packs bundled for $25 (includes tax +convenience fee -- we can't get them any cheaper than you can)
There are also a number of 3rd party "knock off" motors & battery packs available through amazon, but we do not recommend them as their quality and production are far inferior to the product from LEGO.
 
Powered Up Motor and Hubs
As LEGO transitions away from Power Functions, they are transitioning into "Powered Up" which adds a tablet or smartphone requirement to controlling models. There are a few different "Hubs" available, and a different app for each one. Your child may already have one of these if you have purchased any of the following sets: 
 
Simple Medium Linear Motor - ($12.99+tax+shipping)  https://www.lego.com/en-us/product/simple-medium-linear-motor-45303
 
There are 3 different Powered Up hubs available in various current LEGO kits in the "Powered Up" line, or may be purchased individually from shop.lego.com:
 
For our onsite classes, we will be using the LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 Hub:
 
We will also use the "tilt" and "motion" sensors from WeDo 2.0 in class. These are not required for the main functionality of the models at home, but for the full experience, they are helpful. If you purchase a kit from shop.lego.com that has one of the Powered Up hubs, it may come with the "Color & Distance" Sensor ( https://www.lego.com/en-us/product/color-distance-sensor-88007). For the virtual classes, we will include how to use this sensor, beside the other sensors, to minimize the number of things you may need to purchase.