Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2014
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Monster Physics

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Awesome puzzler lets kids build, test, modify, and retest

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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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Grades
6-8 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Open-ended missions allow for multiple solutions; built-in physics engine lets kids test and retest their contraptions.

Cons: Some kids may struggle with missions and give up, so scaffolded hints would be useful.

Bottom Line: Monster Physics uses colorful graphics and fun missions to teach kids about physics through exploration and experimentation.

Monster Physics would be a great way to have students experiment with motion and forces. After kids have learned about these general concepts, have them play around with the Build feature so they can get used to how the app works. Then have students work in pairs or small groups to solve a mission. You can choose the level depending on students' skill level. Challenge students to solve the mission as quickly as possible, and compare solutions as a class. Continue advancing and keep a class tally of completed missions.

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Monster Physics is a building game that lets kids explore the principles of physics. Build mode encourages kids to use their imaginations as they select from 68 different parts to create a contraption. Parts are made of materials like metal, wood, and plastic, and kids can draw ropes or chains to connect them. Additional options include rotating, coloring, scaling, and flipping parts. Once kids finish building their contraptions, they can tap and drag to use the built-in physics engine, which shows how the contraption moves.

In the Missions mode, kids can choose from 50 missions to solve, and the missions increase in difficulty from beginner to advanced. A 12-step tutorial helps kids get started, and tips within some of the missions help guide kids to success. A Learn section introduces kids to some basic physics concepts like speed, velocity, mass, and density. Each concept includes a written description and a colorful, animated illustration.

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Kids can learn about important physics concepts through exploration and experimentation. They build contraptions and solve missions using tools that apply concepts like force, friction, and gravity. This allows kids to see first hand how parts interact in a system. If they don't get the right results the first time, kids can make an unlimited number of modifications until they're satisfied with their contraptions or until they successfully solve a mission. Many of the missions are open ended, meaning they have more than one solution. This is great for kids who use different approaches to solve the mission, and it teaches kids that in science, there are often multiple ways to solve a problem. The overall process of building, testing, modifying, and retesting is an excellent way to support critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Some kids may get frustrated if they're unable to solve a mission, so be sure to encourage them to revisit the tutorial and to think about how forces and motion can help.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
5

Since they can see their contraptions in action, kids will be highly engaged as they build and solve missions. Some of the missions are tough, so kids will need some patience and persistence.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Kids will be challenged to use critical thinking skills while learning about physics. Missions increase in difficulty, so kids can work at their own pace. Feedback is general; either a mission is successful, or kids need to keep trying.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

A tutorial helps kids get started, and a Learn feature provides some content background. Some more built-in hints would be a welcome addition.


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Matthew C. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
4
Learning Physics Concepts in a fun way!

I highly recommend this app to teach physics principles. I would say that you would probably need to look the app over and then you can ask the students to find examples of certain principles, for example, kinetic or potential energy, or certain types of collisions. If there isn't some structure, then it can just end up being lots and lots of playing.

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