Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2020
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CyberChase Shape Quest!

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AR adds unique twist to geometry, spatial reasoning games

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • 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: Leveling and strategic clues help the games appeal to students with a wider skill set.

Cons: Maneuvering the device over the game board can be difficult and awkward.

Bottom Line: Once kids get a hang of things, this app's puzzles will get them thinking creatively about shapes and spatial reasoning.

Teachers can use Cyberchase Shape Quest to challenge students who have already learned a bit about geometry. Before students play the AR game, teachers need to visit the PBS Kids website and print out a game board. Games are meant to be played individually and follow a specific path of increasing complexity. Because of that, they work best as an activity station for individual students on their own dedicated device if possible. Teachers can expand on the skills students use in the game through activities that touch on geometry vocabulary (shape names, angles, and so on) or spatial reasoning.

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Cyberchase Shape Quest is a free app focused on shapes and starring characters from PBS Kids' show Cyberchase. It features three games -- including one that uses augmented reality -- that each touch on geometry and spatial reasoning. In Feed the Critter, players launch food to bounce off walls and obstacles and end in the hands of a hungry animal (like a game of billiards). In Hide and Seek, players identify shapes by different criteria such as name, number of sides or right angles. In Patch the Path, students need a printed copy of a game board (available for download on the PBS Kids website), which they use to place their puzzle pod. A brief tutorial shows players how to move their device around to explore the game space and tap to pick up, drop, and rotate items. When they move on to the game, players choose and rotate shapes to plug in gaps in a path across the game board. As levels increase, players must combine shapes in more complex ways. Players earn stars and points and increase in levels as they solve puzzles and answer questions correctly.

Three very different games, each with lots of levels, give students ample practice with geometry, spatial reasoning, and problem solving. Colorful graphics feel familiar to fans of the PBS Kids' Cyberchase and welcoming to kids who've never seen the show. The games stand out from others mostly due to thoughtful leveling, unique game play, and supports when students struggle with a level. Though instructions skillfully weave critical thinking and shapes lessons into the basic information students need to navigate the games, it helps if students know a bit about shapes. However, if they know too much, even the clever leveling may not be enough to provide students a challenge. The game that stands out as most unique is the augmented reality puzzle set, which is a nice approach to use shapes in a new and interesting way. Gameplay isn't always smooth however, and kids may need a significant amount of practice to get the hang of it. Even after ample practice, play can still be a bit awkward.

Overall Rating

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

There's hours of challenge with many levels, interesting games, and more than 80 puzzles, all featuring Cyberchase-themed characters.

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

Kids learn by playing shape-themed games (including a 3D augmented reality game) and solving puzzles. Instructions skillfully weave critical thinking and shapes lessons into the basic info kids need to play the games.

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

Progress data shows how many more shapes kids need to find as well as completed levels and earned points. Most of this is for players vs. adults looking to track specific skill development.

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