App review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2015
Shapes - 3D Geometry Learning
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Shapes - 3D Geometry Learning

Transform shapes from 3D to 2D with snappy exploration tool

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 1 review
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
6–8
Subjects & Skills
Math, Character & SEL, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Kids can explore each shape in a number of ways.

Cons: Without tools to assess learning or track projects, kids' engagement may wane.

Bottom Line: An ideal resource for exploring three-dimensional shapes, but it could benefit from an assessment feature.

In the classroom, Shapes – 3D Geometry Learning could be an excellent supplemental geometry tool. As kids learn about three-dimensional solids, have them work in small groups to explore each shape. Ask them to create a graphic organizer to take notes about the attributes of each shape.

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Shapes – 3D Geometry Learning is a reference tool that kids can use to explore more than 20 different solid figures. The main screen is organized into four categories of solid figures: Prisms, Pyramids, Platonic Solids, and Solids of Revolution. Within each category, kids can select from several different shapes. Once the shape is selected, kids can explore using a number of features including zoom, unfold and fold, and rotate. Kids can also tap to learn how many faces, edges, and vertices the shape has, and they can highlight and color-fill these characteristics. When kids select the Net feature, they can build their own net and fold it to see what happens and test out their results. 

Letting kids explore and manipulate shapes has great learning potential. Kids can learn the attributes of 27 different solid figures, including the number of sides, edges, and vertices. Kids can rotate each shape and make it transparent to help them better understand its characteristics. Kids can also unfold most of the shapes to reveal their nets and study the two-dimensional figures that make up the three-dimensional figures. For example, when a quadrilateral pyramid is unfolded, the net reveals that this solid figure is made of a square and four triangles -- it's a cool demo, and it's a critical point that addresses an important Common Core math standard. Kids can further investigate by making their own nets.

With a clean design and easy-to-use interface, this app makes geometry less intimidating for kids. Meanwhile, some additional features would increase the impact of the important lessons baked into this app. For example, the cylinder and cone do not have nets, so adding these would be helpful. Additionally, some form of assessment would be a big help; a test or set of quizzes could extend the learning experience and help kids learn to articulate and describe what they've learned.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Kids will be intrigued by the ability to manipulate shapes and highlight certain attributes. The interface is simple and elegant, but it might not be an immediate draw for kids who need persuasion to explore shapes.

Pedagogy

Kids can learn a lot of attributes about each shape, and they can explore, manipulate, and problem-solve. Because there are no objectives or assessments, the app misses an opportunity to reinforce learning.

Support

The touchscreen features are easy to control. Though there are few instructions in the app, the developer's website offers the opportunity to view videos and try the product before buying.


Common Sense reviewer
Debbie Gorrell Educator

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Featured review by
Meg K. , Other
Other
Capitol Hill Magnet School
St. Paul, United States
Versatile tool to create and learn about shapes
This app combines many valuable features: visualization, construction and deconstruction. Students love the ability to transform and change the appearance of the shapes. App smashing opportunities abound as shapes can be saved. Great versatility with digital and physical capabilities.
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