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Pros: Plenty of puzzles and levels of difficulty to engage and challenge students.
Cons: Device has to be removed from its protective cover to be placed in base, so teachers will need to have procedures in place to handle that.
Bottom Line: Classic puzzler combines toys with digital play to engage and teach all ages.
Teachers can find lesson plans and ideas for incorporating Osmo into their curricula online through their myOsmo accounts. There's also a forum for discussing classroom implementation and a way to share your own lessons with the Osmo community. Teachers can use Osmo Tangram as a puzzle activity in a discovery or STEM station or center, or they can use it to teach shapes, colors, and how shapes can be combined and dissected.
Osmo Tangram is a free download that accompanies the basic gaming system from Osmo. The system, which includes two other apps and toys, retails for $79.99. It comes with a base and a reflector attachment that clips over the iPad's camera. The base fits any iPad, requiring a slightly different configuration for the iPad Air and Mini. Osmo Tangram includes the seven colorful tangram shapes, which kids use to form the designs shown on the iPad. The camera reflector allows the device to see what kids are doing with the toys. Teachers can set up individual profiles for each student in a class.
Students choose from Easy, Medium, or Hard levels. Harder levels can be unlocked after four Hard puzzles have been completed. Kids arrange the seven shapes in front of the game system to match the image on the device. As kids place a piece correctly, it shows up in color on the screen. Hints are available. Pictures of completed puzzles decorate the map, making a story of the play journey. Some puzzles free captive characters. Kids earn achievements as they complete different missions.
Classic puzzle play enters the digital age with this smart and impressive hybrid toy. Young kids can play and learn the most with these tangrams, but there's no age limit on the challenging fun. Students can choose to jump around challenge levels until they find the one that's just right for them, and with hundreds of puzzles, there's plenty to engage them. The way the screen plays out like a story (with the solved puzzles taking their place along the path) adds some extra fun, and kids who want to add some self-driven competition can work to unlock the achievements. The teacher supports are top-notch, with an educator community, lessons plans, and student profiles.
Really, the whole Osmo system is impressive, from the neat magnetic packaging to the sensitive, responsive technology; this is a game system that will bring fun and learning without taking up lots of space. Keep in mind that any iPad you use with Osmo will have to be removed from its cover, so teachers may want to have procedures in place to handle that.