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SimpleRockets could be fun to use as a STEM enrichment tool in the classroom. As kids learn about such relevant topics as forces and motion or rocket engineering, have them work in small groups to experiment with different rocket designs. Once they have a few designs under their belts, the sandbox mode is a good place for them to start exploring. As kids get more comfortable with launching and orbiting, you could assign some of the challenges, and create your own class leaderboard of successes and failures.Continue reading Show less
Kids start with training sessions that guide them through the basics of designing, building, flying, and orbiting rockets. The instructions and graphics are clear and concise. Then kids can choose to freely explore in sandbox mode or compete with others in challenge mode.
Either way, the first step is to build a rocket by dragging parts into place. The rocket should have enough parts to allow kids to successfully complete a task. For example, the first task in challenge mode is to launch a rocket that will fly upward for at least 100 kilometers. A rocket for this task doesn't need much more than an engine, command pod, and fuel tank. A more challenging task is to launch a rocket that orbits a planet and lands using a parachute. For this challenge, a rocket needs a more complex design. Some of the other challenges include flying a small, low-fuel rocket as far as possible, traveling at the fastest speed possible, and safely docking with a satellite.
Most kids will relish these challenges, but accessible hints and more precise touch controls could reduce potential frustration among kids who struggle.
SimpleRockets is a physics game in which kids explore a virtual solar system (called a "smolar system") by building and launching rockets. Kids create their own rockets with designs ranging from basic to complex, freely explore solar system planets, and participate in flying, orbiting, and landing competitions. In either sandbox or challenge mode, kids can learn about rocket design and basic orbital physics. A training section helps get kids started on designing and building rockets; tutorials for flying through space and orbiting the moon are also provided. By building their own rockets, kids develop an understanding of how different rocket parts work to complete tasks, as well as how the parts work together as a system. When kids launch rockets from different planets, they learn how variations in atmosphere and gravity affect orbital motion. Challenge mode motivates and empowers kids as they try to fly their rockets fastest and farthest, safely land on the moon, use the least amount of fuel, and more. While teaching kids about engineering and physics, the game promotes creativity and the important scientific concept of trial and error.
Key Standards Supported
Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.
Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.
Key Standards Supported
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system.
Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.