Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2012
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Brain Bran

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Logic problems and puzzles abound

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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Grades
5-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: You won't run out of brainteasers!

Cons: If students are working alone, they'll have to be strong readers and able to think about their answers before giving them up.

Bottom Line: This treasure trove of brainteasers challenges kids' critical-thinking skills.

You'll know some of these brainteasers already, but with a dozen in each category, kids will be challenged. Brain Bran does require strong readers who can self-manage their answers (or who can think a bit before showing what they've come up with). Each problem gives feedback, which is excellent for learning, but the basic interface means kids will need to motivate and self-regulate. Teachers could use brainteasers from Brain Bran to get the whole class thinking, put kids in small groups, or have the most self-motivated kids work individually. You can have multiple users, and the app will hold data for at least (in reviewer testing) 35 students. It also tracks kids' scores.

 

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Brainteasers aren't just warm-ups or time-fillers! Kids can learn math, word play, attention to detail, and creativity with more than 200 brainteasers and logic puzzles in Brain Bran, making it easy and fun to think critically.

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The interface is pretty low-tech. Kids choose the type of brainteaser they want from the category list, and then choose a question. They read it themselves and self-check their answers, choosing Yes or No in response to, "Did you answer this question correctly?"

In Things in Common, they have to figure out what unrelated things have in common (for example, pantyhose, candidates, and engines all run -- get it?). Number Madness uses numbers, natch, and offers excellent explanations for each answer. Visual Vexers build spatial reasoning. Gotchas incorporate problem-solving and critical thinking, and, just so you know, Conundrums/Logic Puzzles require strong reading skills. Verbal skills are on trial in two games: Mondegreens writes out phrases phonetically so that students have to say them aloud to figure them out. For example, "chicken alfredo" turns into "check hen hail frayed hoe." In Ditloids, phrases are written with numbers and first letters, so "5 T on a F" is "five toes on a foot."

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

The brainteasers are fun, but your students will rely on you to liven things up, as the production value isn't very high.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

All aspects of this entertaining app are reading-intensive. Kids who read critically will learn and grow by reading explanations. Kids who aren't as strong can work in groups or get individual attention.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Kids control when they show their answers, which can teach or reinforce self-monitoring, but if they rush things, they won't learn as much. There's no tutorial, but gameplay is intuitive. You can get hints for trickier puzzles.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Linda G. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
North Allegheny School District
Pittsburgh, PA
4
Works Brain Muscles with Clever and Challenging Puzzles

Brain Bran’s 200+ brain teasers will challenge and delight students and spark classroom discussions. One of its greatest features is the variety of types that are offered, sparking multiple brain intelligences. Strong readers will enjoy “Conundrums”, “Mondegreens” and “Ditloids”. The Logical-mathematical mind thrives in “Number Madness” and “Gotchas”. Spacial reasoning is highlighted in “Visual Vexers”.

In using this with students, teachers should know of potential detractors: There are references to death (guns, executioners and cannibals) and substances (a bar, beer and smoking). There are no instructions or hints provided during play. Answering and gaining points operate on an honor system, by asking if the user answered correctly or not.

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