Top Pick

Resources for Problem-Solving and 21st-Century Skills

So many important school, life, and work skills can be taught through games and other engaging tools. With these picks, students can problem-solve their way through physics games, sharpen their communication skills, and much more.

ArtsEdge Visit Website: https://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators.aspx
Impressive cross-curricular resource helps put the A in STEAM
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Scratch Visit Website: http://scratch.mit.edu/
Jump-start future programmers with adaptive sandbox tool
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Wizard School Publisher: Duck Duck Moose
Curated videos and creative challenges ignite active learning
Grades 2-8
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 5
Crayon Physics Deluxe Publisher: Kloonigames
Influential physics game is still a draw
Grades 2-12
Type Game
Price $19.95
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Trainyard Publisher: Matt Rix
Stump students with innovative train-routing puzzler
Grades 3-7
Type App
Price $.99-$2.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Contraption Maker Publisher: Spotkin
Solve problems, puzzles, brain teasers while creating wacky machines
Grades 3-8
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Zoombinis Publisher: Technical Education Research Centers, Inc.
Classic logic puzzler gets a beautiful new look
Grades 3-8
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, Apps for Windows, Mac Apps
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Geared 2! Publisher: Bryan Mitchell
Send a hamster flying off his wheel by choosing the right gears
Grades 3-12
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 3
The Oregon Trail Publisher: Gameloft
Strong pioneer simulation game with secondary emphasis on history
Grades 4-8
Type App
Price $.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Pear Deck Visit Website: https://www.peardeck.com/
Go beyond the basics with interactive slideshows to assess and engage
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Algodoo Publisher: Algoryx
Sandbox tool enables engaged, conceptual physics inquiry
Grades 4-12
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
CueThink Visit Website: http://www.cuethink.com/
Social approach to problem-solving promotes deep math learning
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
KidsThinkDesign Visit Website: http://www.kidsthinkdesign.org/index.html
Projects inspire creativity; a place for kids' sharing would boost fun
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Mozilla Thimble Visit Website: https://thimble.mozilla.org/
Inspiring platform teaches coding through remixing
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Digital Is Visit Website: http://digitalis.nwp.org/
Engaging space for tech-forward instruction, teacher collaboration
Grades 5-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Scribblenauts Unlimited Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
Stimulating and creative adventure helps kids grow their vocabularies
Grades 5-12
Type Game
Price 59.99
Platforms 3DS, Wii U
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
GameMaker: Studio Publisher: YoYo Games Ltd.
One of the best creation tools available for aspiring game developers
Grades 5-12
Type Game
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 5
FTL: Faster Than Light Publisher: Subset Games
Failure is frequent and fun in this strategic starship sim
Grades 6-12
Type Game
Price $9.99
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Roadtrip Nation Visit Website: http://roadtripnation.org/
Outstanding site motivates kids to follow dreams, work hard
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price $20-$25 per student
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
TinkerBox Publisher: Autodesk Inc.
Fantastic physics puzzler puts a virtual maker faire in kids' hands
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Brilliant Visit Website: https://brilliant.org/
Challenge top students with adaptive math and physics problems
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Coaster Crafter: Build. Ride. Scream!
This product is no longer available.
Visit Website: https://s.ncta.com/CoasterCrafter/Default.aspx
Cleverly draws on love of coasters to teach velocity, force, motion
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Collaborize Classroom Visit Website: http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com/
Free online discussion platform can foster equity and help engage
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Portal 2 Puzzle Maker Publisher: Valve
Mind-bending level editor for beloved physics game
Grades 7-12
Type Game
Price $19.99
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Storify Visit Website: http://storify.com/
Storytelling with Web content teaches critical curation
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 3
Democracy 3 Publisher: Positech Games
Nuanced political sim about the balancing act of government
Grades 9-12
Type Game
Price $24.95 individual; $99.95 classroom
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Kerbal Space Program Publisher: Squad
Design and launch a rocket into space in realistic astrophysics sim
Grades 9-12
Type Game
Price Free to Try, Paid
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Peacemaker Publisher: Impact Games
Compelling test of kids' empathy and problem-solving skills
Grades 9-12
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
My Experiment Visit Website: http://www.myexperiment.org/
Collaborative scientific social network best for advanced HS students
Grades 11-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated