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Put kids in a virtual lab, experimenting with mechanical engineering concepts and simple machines. Talk to kids about their failed attempts and have them reflect on what they learned from those as well as from their successful attempts in the games. Encourage kids to read the Learn More section and review it before replaying a game.Continue reading Show less
Autodesk Digital STEAM Applied Mechanics is one of three STEAM -- Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math -- apps from Autodesk, known for many professional-level engineering and architecture products. A taunting cat and crafty mouse lead kids through five mini-games that demonstrate different mechanical principles: "Energy & Work," "Force," "Power," "Loading," and "Mechanisms." Kids can replay games as many times as they want to, but even if they don't win, they can move on to others. Brief instructions introduce each game, and kids can read about the concepts and see diagrams of it in action, but they'll use a lot of trial and error in their hands-on application of the concepts within each game. In "Energy & Work," kids navigate a hot air balloon using fuel for energy. In "Force," they use a catapult to fire balls at the enemy cat. In "Loading," kids use a crane to load varied weights onto trucks. In "Power," kids have to land a spaceship on the moon, and in "Mechanism," they navigate a flying machine and collect cheese along the way.
The app responds slowly sometimes and crashes occasionally. Still, it's a free app offering overall engaging mini-games and well-written explanations of concepts, so it's worth checking out.
Kids can learn some of the principles of applied mechanics with Autodesk Digital STEAM Applied Mechanics. They'll learn by reading and examining diagrams about each interrelated concept: energy & work, force, power, loading, and mechanisms. These concepts are essential for understanding how things work, as well as for creating solutions.
Kids get to apply what they've learned in each of the mini-games, but the games are uneven. Some are quite challenging, almost to the point of frustration. Players don't get any hints. They'll fail, and then they'll try again (and again and again, maybe) as they attempt to apply what they've learned. This approach could work well, but the information they're learning often won't help them actually master the games. Other games are relatively easy and don't always have good replay value.
Key Standards Supported
By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 11–12 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Key Standards Supported
Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.
Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.
Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.