Review by Caryn Lix, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2014

SpaceForce

Tricky puzzles build conceptual understanding of force and physics

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Science
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
1-5
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Pros: Puzzles with just the right edge of difficulty help students learn physics concepts.

Cons: In spite of the bells and whistles, kids could quickly become bored.

Bottom Line: SpaceForce offers an effective, quick, and free way to introduce physics and motion to younger students, as well as help them review.

It would be a great way to introduce the idea of force and motion or as a review at the end of a unit on that topic. Students may find it valuable to repeat the game once they have a greater understanding of how the scientific principles behind force work. Teachers could encourage students to design their own puzzles, or to put the forces to work in the classroom by designing models with marbles and blocks to replicate the game's experience. 

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SpaceForce begins with a comics-style introduction to the game's story, but unfortunately this story has little to do with the gameplay. During play, students solve a variety of puzzles requiring them to place the direction and strength of a force that moves an object toward its goal. As puzzles increase in difficulty, students get new challenges: They might have to place the goal instead of the force, or an unruly meteor may interrupt the object's path.

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SpaceForce generally does a good job of what it sets out to do: introduce physics concepts to young children. Concepts are clear and feature fairly engaging puzzles students will enjoy solving. That said, the game contains little connection to the story, and students will probably not find the experience particularly memorable. In addition, many of the games, rather than requiring a thorough understanding of the physics behind the puzzles, can be completed by guessing and checking.

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Overall Rating

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

SpaceForce has a slick look and does a good job of teaching concepts, but students won't be in a rush to play again.

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

Zeroes in on the concepts of force and motion effectively through tricky and engaging puzzles.

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

It's fairly self-explanatory, but kids who struggle with reading may get stuck easily.


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Caryn Lix Classroom teacher

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