App review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2012

# iCrosss

Spin and rotate shapes, boost spatial understanding of geometric solids

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Grades
6–12
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Math, Critical Thinking

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Pros: The interactive animations are fun to manipulate, and the list of solids is comprehensive enough to serve as a reference tool for students in middle school through college.

Cons: Kids aren't encouraged to do calculations or play with the math in any deep way.

Bottom Line: iCrosss is a very cool and practical reference tool for exploring and studying polyhedrons.

Some kids have a hard time visualizing 3-D shapes, especially those with many vertices, edges, and faces. As you teach a unit about polyhedrons, it could be fun to use iCrosss in a couple different ways. Before kids learn about a particular polyhedron, have them explore it using the app and write down everything they learn. As you teach kids more about the polyhedron, allow them to view it and rotate it so they can visualize all of its features. In your lessons, you will likely be discussing nets, so challenge kids to draw pencil-and-paper versions of nets for the polyhedrons they study. Using the app to rotate the shapes would be particularly useful for this task.

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iCrosss is an interactive encyclopedia of polyhedrons -- three-dimensional solids kids often study in geometry class, which include cubes, pyramids, and prisms. Kids can explore 3-D representations of nearly 50 different polyhedrons and can experiment with creating cross-sections. The figures are organized into six main categories: platonic solids, Archimedean polyhedra, pyramids, prisms, anti-prisms, and archimedean duals. Kids can also access info on each polyhedron, including the number of vertices, edges, and faces as well as formulas for surface area, volume, face diagonal, and more. Other options include the ability to email or print an image, view a polyhedron in three different orientations, separate parts of a polyhedron, and add polyhedrons to a list of favorites. Kids can access a brief tutorial by tapping on the information icon.

Kids can learn the names and characteristics of nearly 50 3-D solids with this well-designed reference tool. Shapes range from a simple six-sided cube to a highly complex triakis octahedron with 24 faces. Kids can explore a 3-D image of each polyhedron and place points to create a cross-section. For each solid, an info sheet lists features including number of sides and vertices, as well as formulas for calculations such as surface area. Shape names like octahedron or pentagonal hexecontahedron offer kids a great opportunity to brush up on their Greek prefixes and root words. iCrosss is a useful tool to help kids visualize complex geometric forms but offers little opportunity for them to apply the concepts. An assessment tool or game to test learning would be a welcome addition.

##### Engagement

Kids will have fun spinning and rotating the shapes. However, without a way to apply learning, they may not be fully engaged for long.

##### Pedagogy

The number of shapes kids can learn about is extensive, and the ability to rotate them is a valuable tool for building spatial skills.

##### Support

The brief tutorial is somewhat helpful, but a developer's page could not be found. There is a social media page, but users aren't likely to get much technical support there.

Common Sense reviewer
Debbie Gorrell Educator

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