App review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2015
Inventioneers Full Version
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Inventioneers Full Version

Budding engineers create design solutions with fun physics puzzler

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
2–8
Subjects & Skills
Science, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Kids are seriously challenged to design, test, and redesign in a fun and playful setting.

Cons: If kids struggle, they may give up without access to hints.

Bottom Line: A fun, engaging way to boost critical-thinking and problem-solving skills while learning about important science and engineering practices.

Use Inventioneers as a support tool during a unit about forces and motion. Start by having kids work in teams using the Create mode. This will get them used to the features of the app and how the tools and special powers work. Then, as kids learn more about the physics concepts, challenge them to work (independently if possible) to complete a task. Come together as a class and discuss the task and how forces and motion were used to complete the task. Continue with more challenging levels as you work through the unit.

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Kids can either create their own inventions or build inventions to accomplish a given task. In Create mode, kids can add a user name, create their own inventions, and share them with friends. In the other mode, kids are provided with a set of tools and helpers called "Inventioneers" that have special powers like the ability to blow, burn, or freeze objects. Kids must arrange the tools and helpers to create an invention that will accomplish a specific task. For example, in one task, kids are given a piece of cheese shaped like a ramp and an Inventioneer that can blow objects. Kids have to arrange them in such a way that will help (gently) blow a cat out of a tree so it falls safely into a basket below. When kids are ready to test their inventions, they push a play button. If the work is unsuccessful, kids can redesign their inventions over and over as they wish, which reinforces the importance of trial and error. There are eight themed chapters of play, with several levels to complete within each chapter.

Kids learn by doing, which is the focus of this incredibly engaging game that addresses engineering practices aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. Kids can learn about various physics and engineering concepts through exploration and experimentation. Kids use their knowledge of forces and motion as they create the inventions, and they get to observe how parts of a system interact. Some inventions involve pulleys, gears, and rope swings, teaching kids about simple machines. Overall, Inventioneers provides an excellent platform for kids to build problem-solving and strategic thinking skills with a focus on engineering.

Overall Rating

Engagement

A huge variety of tools, special powers, and themes -- plus the challenge of solving problems -- will keep kids insanely engaged.

Pedagogy

Kids are empowered to use critical-thinking skills while applying physics principles. Tasks increase in difficulty, and kids learn a lot through trial and error.

Support

Figuring out how some of the tools like ropes and pulleys work can be a bit tricky. Some challenges are extremely tough, so built-in hints could help.


Common Sense reviewer
Debbie Gorrell Educator

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