Most teachers will find The Sandbox EDU is similar to the original version. It works best as a tool to use with early finishers or as part of enrichment time. However, with the addition of the lessons, you could use the game as an introduction to a unit. Let kids work in pairs or small groups to freely explore the lessons that are relevant to your unit. Follow up with a class discussion about the terminology or concepts they learned through gameplay.Continue reading Show less
The Sandbox EDU is a spin-off of the consumer app The Sandbox. Similar to Minecraft, The Sandbox apps are open-ended creation apps, in which players use elements (soil, water, etc.) to create their own universe. The EDU version includes a Play mode with five game levels addressing a variety of topics: Saving the Earth, School of Music, Inside the Lab, Learn Pixel Art, and Crazy Circuits. Each level includes several lessons, which introduce an interesting fact and a content-specific challenge for kids to complete. For example, in Saving the Earth, kids can complete a lesson about twisters. They begin with a fact about twisters, and then are challenged to drop twisters in order to destroy a village. In the Create mode, kids build their own universe without any guidelines. They can take screenshots of their creations and save them to a photo gallery.
Lesson topics range from music and art to circuits, chemistry, and earth science. They're well organized, and each one teaches kids some basic terminology and facts about the topic. While some lessons are better than others, the tasks within many of them are vague at best and lack a strong connection to the topic. For example, in School of Music, kids have to create a note by putting a note where one is missing. It's not entirely clear what kids will learn by completing this task. In addition, numerous typos and grammar errors make the lessons feel unreliable.
As with the original version of the game, a lack of explicit lessons means parents and teachers may want to help kids make a connection between what's going on in the game and the academic content they're learning.
Key Standards Supported
Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Key Standards Supported
Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.
Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
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.
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