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Pros: Increasingly difficult puzzles make for cognitively powerful playtime.
Cons: Some puzzles take a bit too long or are somewhat tedious to complete, even after a solution is found or a pattern is discovered.
Bottom Line: Promote powerful thinking skills, resilience, and decision-making through purely fun gameplay that will keep students begging for more.
This would fit nicely in a math unit on patterns and logic for younger learners, or even a change of pace for adolescents who could use some hands-on experience with the mechanics of logic. There are even some higher-level mathematical implications in some of the tasks that a dedicated teacher could dig into for middle or high schoolers. Outside of the math classroom, any teacher could use this to promote problem-solving skills for learners who struggle to persist through complex assignments or who struggle with sequencing tasks.
Since it feels so much like a game, it could even be used as a reward for completion of classwork or as a meaningful time-filler for students who breeze through worksheets or tests ahead of the rest of the class.
Zoombinis is a logic puzzler straight from the pantheon of classic learning games. You can use it on mobile devices or on desktop via Fablevision, where there are also educator resources available. Players command a crew of rotund blue characters uniquely defined by features such as eyes, hair, and nose color through a series of puzzles en route to a new communal home. Each puzzle requires pattern recognition, deductive and inductive reasoning, and spatial arrangement based on the characters' defining features. The graphics defining the world are lush and engaging with interactive discovery features throughout, while clever and funny voice acting adds an extra layer of appeal.
The app almost always feels like a game but promotes persistence, resilience, and intrinsic satisfaction through progress gained by successful solutions and cleverness rather than with points or flashy rewards. If you're looking for a way to teach kids that problem-solving feels great, this is a phenomenal option.
Zoombinis requires players to form groups, create sequences, and discover matches using their characters' physical features in a world brimming with color, shape, and logic puzzles. As such, it's great practice for fundamental numeracy skills. Increasingly challenging levels ensure that the strength of those skills continues to grow, as players are motivated by the challenge of familiar tasks with increasingly complex rules. The learning baked in here is excellent. Kids have to think critically throughout this engaging, immersive experience, and helpful, age-appropriate hints and instructional narration help them out along the way.
The skills practiced feel a bit limited at times, and the experience could be tough for kids with attention difficulties, but that's not enough to detract from an overall impressive experience.