Tuesday, July 16, 2013

AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning: SimplePhysics (ages 8 - 16)

The kids at my school library have loved exploring new math and science apps. They love the ways that these apps build in game experiences to make learning FUN! I love how engaged the kids are with thinking, problem solving and learning key concepts and facts.

One of our favorites has been SimplePhysics. It's hooked kids who love puzzles, experiments and building things. Check out the whole list of AASL's Best Apps for Teaching and Learning to find out about all of the science, technology, engineering and math apps that our panel recommends!
by Jundroo, LLC
available for iPhone, iPad & Android
currently $1.99
ages 8 - 16
SimplePhysics lets you design complex structures for everything from tree houses to Ferris wheels. Verify the structural integrity of your design with a stress test. Great engineering is not enough, however -  you have to keep your project under budget to win the game! Don't use too many resources, or you'll blow your budget.

Here, you can see one of the first challenges: building a tree fort. The goal is to build a stable tree fort that will hold enough weight, with only using structures attached to the tree. After you build your structure, you get to test it with the four weights and see if it will hold them. This allows kids to really see the results of their buildings, and see which joints are strong and which are weak.

This is a more complicated challenge, requiring kids to build a bridge across a canyon. It has to hold the weight of the freight train. Kids love testing their creations and seeing the train crash to the bottom if their bridge isn't strong enough!

This is a screenshot when kids are testing the strength of their creation, in this case they are building stairs. The stairs must withstand enough weight and pressure. The app shows the load bearing of the different beams.

And this might have been my students' favorite challenge. They had to build a structure that protected the dummy against an explosion. You can guess how much fun they had testing it! One of the things I liked best watching kids use this app is how much talking occurred as they were using it. Three kids would gather around the iPad and talk about what they were putting where, why it was working, which option they should choose. They could test out their theories and quickly adjust them.

Head over to AASL's Best Apps for Teaching and Learning to discover more great apps for engaging kids with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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