Product Review of Crayon Physics Deluxe
In Crayon Physics Deluxe, learners draw the world into being — a world infused with physics concepts and simple machines — to solve puzzles in ways only bound by their imaginations. With each level, learners must guide a ball to a star. Sometimes this means drawing ramps, sometimes it means creating makeshift machines operated by gravity, or which take advantage of momentum. Students can replay each level as many times as they choose, inventing new solutions, or improving on their previous ones. Data from their attempts is displayed on a score screen. Kids may also create their own levels for play, and can share them online with other players.
Teachers can use this game as an introduction to simple machines or basic physics concepts. Get learners to play through a few levels and then share some of their solutions in front of the whole class. Use these talk alouds as a way to identify and define terms like “gravity” or point out the use of fulcrums.Teachers can also issue challenges to learners, getting them to design levels that use particular simple machines or demonstrate concepts. These projects can be done in teams, and shared with the class as a whole. To get learners experience with game design, have the class play and provide feedback for the levels. Then, based on this feedback, learners should tweak their level designs. Play can be extended and contextualized through hands-on building and experimentation with projects from Make Online or DIY.
Despite limited explicit instruction, learners are presented with opportunities for constructivist, conceptual learning — learning that’s accessible to learners of a wide grade range and of a variety of ability levels. Dropping weights, building constructs, and interactive drawings allow learners to intuit an understanding of important physics concepts like gravity, acceleration, and leverage while using simple machines like inclined planes and levers. The physics knowledge learners gain has a very practical purpose because the better learners understand these concepts and tools, the more options they have to solve levels. And since there’s a variety of solutions, learners can help each other out and return to the experience again and again.
Overall User Consensus About the App
The crayon-based interface is light and appealing, encouraging kids to create amazing solutions by drawing a wide variety of colored shapes to playfully solve puzzles.
Curriculum and Instruction
Kids use physics creatively, drawing scales, weights, hinges, and slides to guide balls to objectives. They experiment in an equation-free environment where every problem has multiple solutions.
Effective visual tutorials deliver a world in which language is not needed. Help is sparse, but the game is all about trying things out, not following directions.