App review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2013
Bugs And Bubbles
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Bugs and Bubbles

Fascinating graphics engage as kids practice pre-reading, STEM skills

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 5 reviews
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
Pre-K–K This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Math, Health & Wellness, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Adaptive learning technology challenges kids at appropriate levels.

Cons: Some gestures may be tricky for little hands.

Bottom Line: Great bang for the buck with all the content and stages included.

Three levels of six games each get increasingly challenging and cover pre-reading skills, early math skills, fine motor skills, and STEM-oriented thinking. Bugs and Bubbles could be used as a center activity or for independent work with built-in differentiation. To set up multiple users, teachers will need to go to the settings on their device, choose the app, and select Enable under user profiles. The default is set to Off.

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In Bugs and Bubbles, kids work their way through three stages of six games each or choose "explore" to select any stage and game. Kids will match and trace letters, complete patterns, and identify and sort objects to develop early learning skills. They'll count objects and balance scales to work on math skills. They'll use physics and fine motor skills to stack shapes, race bugs, and roll and bowl with roly-poly bugs. And they'll practice critical thinking skills through games like memory and Bubble4 (like Connect Four). Each game uses adaptive learning technology to increase the challenge as needed. Most games end when kids get a wrong answer; others run on a timer. Each mini-game ends with a "Way to go!" or "Good job!" of encouragement, and kids earn stickers for the mini-games they master.

Bugs and Bubbles is impressive for several reasons. Teachers will appreciate the realistic graphics and beautiful classical music, while the variety of fun games will entertain kids as they learn important skills in math, reading, critical thinking, and science. Bugs and Bubbles is a great example of gamified learning. Kids are having fun playing with bugs and earning stamps while learning -- in each and every game. The variety of mini-games will keep kids engaged for quite a while, and the adaptive learning technology adjusts the level to keep kids challenged at the appropriate level. There's no teacher dashboard for checking kids' progress, but a quick check on the page of game options shows the score for each game. The hand that silently shows kids how to complete new tasks is effective on some games, but some (like racing) may require teacher instruction.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Pretty much any kid loves bubbles or bugs -- or both! Fun concept, gorgeous design, and challenging games keep kids engaged.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

The games adjust in response to kids' performance, so they stay appropriately challenged. Skills like sorting, counting, and matching transfer seamlessly to traditional work.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

An animated hand models how to play each game, but some games may require more direction. The level of challenge changes based on kids' performance.


Common Sense reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Jess L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Melvin E Sine School
Glendale, United States
This awesome app isn't bugging me at all!
If you are looking for an app for skill practice, this is a great choice. The interactive components mixed into the skill review makes it engaging for kids. My students (preschool students with autism) are fascinated by both bugs and bubble, so this app creates a lot of interest. I really like that the app allows profiles for different users. Additionally, I like how it automatically adjusts based on student responses--without requiring the student (or teacher!) to have to manually change a level or res ...
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