The Tynker app works best as an introduction to procedural thinking, more than programming. While the challenge in programming starts with seeing how a complex problem breaks down into smaller steps, this puzzler focuses on playing with small bits of code to solve a very specific problem.
Teachers will find that the app works best when used in conjunction with the Tynker website and curriculum. Connected to the more complete Tynker world, the app makes for a perfectly portable set of practice exercises for students already engaged in the much more complete Tynker website.Continue reading Show less
Tynker fits into a growing category of LEGO-like programming tools, where kids snap together code blocks to create operational computer programs. The approach, made popular in education circles through MIT's free Scratch platform, encourages learning through exploration as opposed to memorization of arcane programming formulas and formats.
Players encounter new programming concepts a step at a time as they attempt to solve mini programming puzzles. A typical puzzle offers the player a few simple code blocks like jump, walk, and repeat. When blocks are assembled into the right sequence, a colorful cartoon character ambles across the screen, hopping over obstacles and reaching a reward on the other side. A variety of challenges take the player into outer space, solving puzzles on locked doors using programming code, and even a set of levels where programs cause a small robot to draw shapes on the screen. Feedback after every level rewards stars for good answers and offers tips when the program fails to solve the assigned task.
The Tynker iPad app borrows puzzles, content, and structure from the Tynker website. As a result, the game draws kids in with an overall polish in sound, graphics, and design. Unfortunately, this approach strips away most of the Tynker website's streamlined visual programming interface, leaving only a few parts that players need to solve each puzzle. Once kids have played with the app for a while, unlocking and completing all of the levels, they still might be wondering how it all fits together.
Key Standards Supported
Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
Key Standards Supported
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
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.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of 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.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.
Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.