App review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2015
Motion Force

Motion Force

Thrilling projectile puzzle game features solid physics principles

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
5–10 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Science, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Great physics lessons a thorough curriculum, and fun puzzles make physics accessible and approachable.

Cons: The game can move a little slowly for advanced players.

Bottom Line: This fun, gentle introduction to projectile motion will stick with students.

Teachers can use this game with their students as a fun and engaging introduction to motion, mass, force, momentum, Newton's Laws of Motion, and more. It can be used as practice or individual work if teachers don't need a full lesson plan, but it is best used as a multi-day lesson on physics and motion using the included teacher and student curriculum packets. Students will come away with a clear sense of what the motion part of physics is all about, and taking a week to go through the curriculum gives plenty of time for the learning to soak in. The built-in achievements can add another way for students to challenge themselves, and since the instructions are always read out loud in addition to being printed on the screen, this game is good for those with low literacy.

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Motion Force is a physics game that teaches the basics of Newton's Laws of Motion and how to apply them. Students save and protect the Fuzzies from the Pricklies by piloting a ship around in space, navigating toward a series of portals. Using basic physics concepts and projectile motion, students complete a series of missions, each of which add on a new piece of the physics puzzle. The nine-mission tutorial and regular help from your Fuzzy guide and your robot ship companion make students feel like they always have help and instruction along the way. 

To complete each mission, students draw a path from their ship to the portal, avoiding obstacles, picking up Fuzzies, and triggering switches. They then devise a plan to travel along that path, applying different amounts of force in different directions based on the distance to travel and speed required. Students can count the squares or hover over the path segments to determine distance. There is often more than one solution to each level, and some levels let kids choose their preferred difficulty level.

This game is an engaging way to learn how to apply Newton's Laws of Motion. Students learn to apply forces in certain directions; how much force to apply based on the mass of the object and the distance and speed required; and all about the interrelatedness of mass, force, speed, velocity, acceleration, momentum, and perpendicular force. There is a helpful Pilot's Manual to remind students about each concept that they are learning and to teach them if they missed the lesson the first time around. 

For each mission, students create a timeline of forces to apply, shields, pauses, and more, which will combine to move the ship where it needs to go. If students make a mistake, they are put back at their starting point and can edit the timeline and try again with no penalty. If they find the missions are too easy, the difficulty can be ramped up. Challenges like starting and stopping the spaceship, flipping switches, moving diagonally, using shields, traveling at a controlled speed through velocity gates, and picking up Fuzzies (which increases mass) keep students on their toes while they build on what they know.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

A simple, well-designed interface pulls students in with a cute storyline and structured tasks. Students can play through the levels gradually or choose higher difficulty levels for a bigger challenge.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Students take charge of the action and their own learning as they solve each level's puzzle. Breaking down physics into manageable pieces allows younger students to learn the basics of motion intuitively. 

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

A clear tutorial and additional help along the way both help ease students into physics, and game instructions appear both as text and audio. Included curriculum makes the game part of a much larger lesson guided by the teacher.


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