Take in mind that students will need lots of time as well as concentration as the hints can be a bit cryptic and the same craft might work one time and not another, depending on how it's controlled. Difficulty ramps up slowly but significantly, which you should be aware of as students progress. There is definite temptation to pay for easily accessible solutions, either with money or a Facebook "like," although this does not ensure success. Still, when frustration hits, younger kids will enjoy crashing the crafts because the pigs make entertaining distress expressions and sounds, and the TNT sends parts flying.
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Patient little builders will create quirky crafts in Bad Piggies, then maneuver them on missions. What's more fun than putting together an aircraft, loading up a pig and an egg, and learning to fly? Using a grid, kids assemble carts and aircraft from a select set of materials, including wheels, fans, boxes, springs, balloons, engines, rockets, and more. Most building challenges are only slightly open-ended, but a sandbox mode allows kids a somewhat larger set of materials. Then: time to fly!
The pigs are the pilots here, wending through tricky terrain, and their precious cargo is an egg. Players try to retrieve pieces of a shredded map by rolling, jumping, flying, or crashing into it. Along the way, they also attempt to gather stars and avoid boxes of TNT.
This game stresses the importance of process and, with that, teaches perseverance. Controlling the creations is the real challenge, though. There are many explosions, crashes, and stalls on the path to success. Through a great deal of trial and error, players learn to control their crafts with on/off buttons to test for motion and momentum outcomes. Courses are automatically traced at the start and can be viewed before launch, but kids usually can't see where they're going during play. Still, some will be highly motivated to gather stars -- for transporting the egg and pig to the map pieces, which is required for completion, and for not using a particular part or for finishing in a specified amount of time.
On the whole, Bad Piggies could be stellar for learning if there were a clearer connection between design, which certainly requires critical thinking, and craft performance. Also, it might help if there were less emphasis on the not-quite-flexible-enough controls. Mostly, it seems, the game teaches patience and fortitude. (Note that the full-screen ads in some versions can be a bit intrusive.)
Key Standards Supported
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
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.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.
Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.
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