How I Use It
I used the Tinkerbox app during small group rotations in my classroom during our "STEM-themed" week with 4th-8th graders. I experienced a lot of success, especially with the male population- I think it feeds into their "trial and error" way of thinking and learning. The girls loved it as well! It does not take a lot of demonstration on the teacher's part- the first couple levels "show" the student how to move different mechanical parts to certain locations on the screen to achieve the desired result (usually a rolling ball falls where it is supposed to). We ended up with a competition in class to see which student could make it through the levels the fastest.
Overall a great physics puzzle game to get students interested and thinking about engineering. I found it a great activity to reference before we talked about coding as well...that step-by-step mindset is a different way of thinking for lots of students. My higher level students went on to the "create" button to design their own puzzles. One BIG drawback that a teacher needs to plan for...the app does not save the levels that are completed! If you have a student who is super-engaged and they make it to level 10 but the bell rings, they will lose all work completed. Set aside time for those students to spend a good chunk of class time to "beat" the game.