How I Use It
Newton and the OSMO system are a great tool for your classroom. The price is steep at $79.99 for a "Starter Kit" and $99.99 for a "Genius Kit". The Starter Kit includes a base for games like Newton and Masterpiece, as well as the Words and Tanagram games. The Genius Kit includes all of the aforementioned, as well as Numbers. The best thing about OSMO is that it takes the play of a virtual game and brings it into our own physical reality. To begin playing the game you first must set up the iPad in the OSMO base. Once it is set up you can then launch the game. The concept of Newton, is to get a dropping ball to hit a target. This can be achieved by placing a piece of paper in front of your iPad and drawing a line on the paper, or by using manipulatives or objects to guide the ball into place. The ball will bounce off of the line or object on the screen and can be directed to towards the target. Once a target is hit a number of times, it will disappear, and once all targets have disappeared the level is completed. Levels increase in difficulty as you move through the game, which makes it a great way to differentiate.
I love using Newton and OSMO in my classroom for many different reasons. First it allows for tangible objects to be brought into the digital game, which is great for fine motor skill development and eye hand coordination. Second, it encourages students to work together. This is not a game that has to be (or should be) played in isolation. Students can problem solve and find solutions with one another. To challenge students, you could have one student blindfolded, while another is giving directions to complete the game. Finally, Newton can be used to help teach students about trajectory and other physics concepts. Newton could easily be incorporated into your classroom lessons. My only gripe with this product is it's hefty $79.99 entry level price tag. Perhaps calling the purchasing department can help you score a deal, they advertise a buy one get one free for school program.