Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2014
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Cyberchase 3D Builder

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Clever story-based geometry game builds spatial reasoning skills

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
Grades 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.
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Pros: Kids will have fun helping cute characters rebuild a city while interactively learning how 2D shapes form 3D shapes.

Cons: Some 2D shapes are difficult to manipulate and visualize as 3D shapes.

Bottom Line: Fun storyline and interactive game make the app an engaging way to learn about geometry.

You could use the game as a way to reinforce a lesson about 3D shapes. Before kids start, review some basic 3D shapes such as cubes, pyramids, cuboids, and prisms. Then have kids work individually if possible to complete the levels at their own pace. Kids should keep track of the stars they earn for each challenge. After gameplay, instruct kids to choose a 3D shape and draw its net on paper.

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Cyberchase 3D Builder is based on the popular PBS math series, Cyberchase. In order to help rebuild a city that was accidentally flattened by robots Buzz and Delete, kids create 3D shapes, or buildings, from 2D shapes. The eight levels of gameplay increase in difficulty, with the final level challenging kids to create and stack multiple 3D shapes to form a complex structure. Kids can earn stars for speed and accuracy, and they must complete a level in order to unlock the next one. Once kids complete all levels and have rebuilt the city, there's a fun fireworks display over the city.

There is no way to set up multiple users, so kids will either have to work in groups or finish all eight levels before the game is reset. This can make sharing a bit challenging.

With 40 challenges across eight levels, kids can learn that 3D geometrical shapes are composed of 2D shapes like rectangles, squares, and triangles. Kids are given a net and have to rotate and swipe its sides to build a 3D shape. For example, kids may get a net made up of three squares and two triangles. By swiping the sides of the net, kids can build a 3D triangular prism. A picture in the top right corner of the screen tells kids what the 3D shape, or building, should look like. As the game gets harder, kids are given several nets and have to choose which ones will form the final 3D shape. Kids also have to decide how to arrange the 3D shapes so they look like the picture of the building. This is a great way for kids to develop spatial reasoning skills, and they will enjoy the cheerful, encouraging words from Buzz and Delete.

Overall Rating

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

Kids will have fun helping Buzz and Delete rebuild the city while learning about geometry.

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

Challenges increase in difficulty, and the visual displays support conceptual learning.

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

Hints and visual aids help struggling kids. A parents section on the PBS Kids website provides additional activities and parent tips.

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