Review by Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2012
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Finger Physics

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Cute and challenging physics puzzler teaches gravity

Common Sense says
Teachers say (2 Reviews)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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Grades
2-5 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Engaging graphics and varied gameplay keep kids wanting more.

Cons: Organization and icons are confusing, and gameplay is not always clear.

Bottom Line: The variety of puzzles makes some tricky navigation and gameplay worth the download.

Although navigation is a bit tricky, teachers could use this engaging game to give kids a primer on how objects attract one another. It touches on physics, magnetism, rotation, and buoyancy.

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Finger Physics teaches gravity as kids stack blocks, guide falling eggs, and attach magnetic blocks to stabilize constructions.

In Egg mode, kids tap on dotted white blocks to make them disappear and allow the egg to fall. Geared Blocks mode introduces rotation, and gravity can flow upward in Gravity Blocks mode. In Lunar mode, kids drag and drop shapes to build the tallest structures they can. Kids can take challenges sequentially or hop to any unlocked challenge.

Ten help pages with decent diagrams but small text explain most but not all gameplay concepts of ten modes of play. If kids get frustrated, the Touch Me button on the main menu links to short YouTube videos of solutions for particularly tricky challenges. Kids can download level packs for $1 or get one for free with the download of a featured app.

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Through interactive games, kids learn about gravity, momentum, and timing. They try different approaches through trial and error, one way to build knowledge. Each challenge takes into account how long it takes to solve it, and construction-based modes have a five-second stability counter -- but this data isn't saved, so cumulative learning is hard to chart. Success is rewarded with bronze, silver, and gold stars displayed on the main menu, but really, the satisfaction of making a stable construction or perfectly guiding an egg is enough to keep anyone coming back.

On the downside, menu load time is slow, icons are vague, and menu text and organization is a bit confusing.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Adorable graphics and well-designed, varied challenges keep kids trying.

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

Kids learn some basics of physics, magnetism, rotation, and buoyancy in a fun atmosphere.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

Menus and icons are sometimes mystifying, and gameplay is not always clear. A tutorial explains gameplay with one page per mode, although it skips the Doodler mode.


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Gary S. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Webster City Middle School
Webster City, IA
4
Simple graphics show interaction between mass, balance, gravity

Challenging physics-based puzzle game for many ages. More than 20 stages with nine levels on each allow for long-term playability. Simple graphics using geometric shapes ask you to build stable structures which will earn you star rewards. Different modes from underwater to lunar, explosive to magnetic make for challenging puzzle solving. Play is simple; drag the shapes to build your structures. Help is minimal but effective; tap button to access. I don't know if this is a problem with the free version or just my device, but the app kept closing. I didn't lose any levels, but it was an annoyance.

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