Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2012
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Sprinkle: Water splashing fire fighting fun!

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Explore water physics, save the day in fun space app

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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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3-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Graphics are both cartoony and realistic, and clearly depict true water physics.

Cons: The game is so challenging that players may have difficulty unlocking the highest levels without making an in-app purchase.

Bottom Line: Challenges and entertains kids as they exercise problem-solving skills in this physics puzzler.

Classes could have discussions about how actions (like the tourists' vehicle traveling through Saturn's ring) can have unintended reactions (like setting off the meteor shower), about the social responsibility of helping those in trouble, and about limited resources and using them wisely.

The app is not set up for multiple accounts or users on one device, so for classroom use, students would have to work cooperatively, which the objective actually lends itself to pretty well. Sprinkle challenges and entertains kids as they exercise problem-solving skills, observe and control the physics of water, and reflect on the nature of the problem and how to solve it.

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Sprinkle: Water splashing fire fighting fun! is a puzzle game that puts players in the boots of a firefighter on Titan, a moon orbiting Saturn. Meteors have set off a series of fires on the planet, and students have to save the inhabitants' homes by successfully aiming a water cannon with a limited supply of water. This cartoon-style game may look easy, but it features some challenging puzzles that might be too difficult for younger players to figure out.

Students will get a pretty realistic idea of how fire spreads and how water moves, sloshes, pools, and otherwise interacts with surrounding objects using the game's controls. They'll move the crane up and down, tilt the water spray to focus its flow, and use objects (like rocks or ramps or other simple tools) to direct or divert water flow.

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Sprinkle increasingly challenges kids, as each level presents a more difficult puzzle to solve to put out the fire. While this fun app doesn't offer much in the way of guidance, this physics puzzler encourages kids to learn from their experience and apply what they've learned. Sprinkle's water physics are very well done, adding a heightened sense of reality that engages players. The backstory, shown in a video clip, engages students' higher thinking skills by giving their actions a context –- meteors are showering flames onto homes on another planet, and players work to help save the homes.

Students can learn problem-solving skills and critical thinking as they use the physics of water to put out fires. They can learn from previous levels what works and how the water will interact with the obstacles, so they can strategize the best way to use the limited resource and the surrounding environment to put out the fires quickly. The backstory for the game provides an interesting perspective on how our actions can impact others.

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Overall Rating

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

Kids will have fun playing with the water and will appreciate the increasing challenge. The graphics and production are first-rate.

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

There's just enough knowledge baked into the fun space fire-fighting action that kids can gain a good understanding of simple physics.

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

Hints are not available, but each level can be replayed to improve the score. The target score is shown at each level, and points are shown after each level, but cumulative data is not easily accessible.

Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Gloria E. , Other
Georgian Court University
Lakewood, NJ
Angry Birds - move over; critical thinking and problem-solving has a new name - Sprinkle

If you've watched students play Angry Birds - they are fully committed to the task of winning. With Sprinkle - it's a similar concept with several important perks. Because it's conceptually similar to Angry Birds there are no instructions - students get the hang of it quickly - a very short learning curve. The focus is saving homes by putting out fires. Ahhhh! We are now dealing with 21st Century critical thinking and problem-solving skills within a physics-driven environment. This is not a standalone game. A good science teacher will have taught some basic concepts first and then use Sprinkle as a catalyst to engage students in seeing the concepts in action. Teachers will have to get creative so that students do not simply see Sprinkle as a game. To win at the various levels of the game, students need to have dialogue - and as such, the game can be paused. How many fires are there? In what order should they be extinguished? How can objects be moved to accurately and speedily direct the water towards the flame(s)? Which objects provide leverage to direct the water towards the flame(s)? If students fail in their attempt, they can try, try again - hopefully with some guidance from the teacher. Teachers can use the game via projector to guide the dialogue; then move students to small groups where peer support is required, reinforced, and rewarded. Sprinkle allows instruction to be interdisciplinary. Students can write about how they "solved" the problem in English Language Arts. In Math class, teachers can provide word problems regarding how many gallons of water could be required to extinguish a small fire or even use geometry to calculate perimeter or area of the objects used to leverage the water. And in Social Studies, students could look at the impact of loss due to fire upon a community. Thematically, Sprinkle is different from Angry Bird and should generate alot of interest from the students. It's up to the teacher to creatively integrate it within the curriculum.

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