How I Use It
After raving about it's potential for math, science and reading, it seems unfair to give a negative review of an app that only costs $1.99. I downloaded the free lite version, but was so underwhelmed that I had no interest in the full version, even though I will be reimbursed for the expense. But really, there are lots of more visually and aurally engaging versions out there, many of them for free on the internet. Snail Bob, Civiballs, Cyclops Physics, Sugar, Sugar, Full Moon, Isoball, PBS Kids' The Great Shape Race, Build A Machine and LaunchBall. These games are engaging and involve problems solving. It's also great for teaching students to collaborate as they help each other solve the puzzles (NETS standard 2) And since they are on the web, they can be projected for the whole class, facilitating more opportunities for the teacher to make teaching points through the game.
Space Physics is one of many apps and video games which turn physical science principles into problem solving puzzles. This one, played on a smart phone challenges the player to draw levers, wheels and slopes to get a ball toward a goal. In the classroom, this is a great way to develop students' problem solving and visual thinking faculties. Also, these kind of games can have language arts extensions: students could write "how to" manuals explaining how to solve it, or I have used it to teach how to identify and verbalize a series of causes and effects.