Product Review of Shape Arts: Geometry Creations
Since gameplay is unstructured, Shape Arts: Geometry Creations is best suited as an enrichment tool. During a geometry unit, provide kids with time at the start or end of a lesson to complete puzzles individually. Then, gather as a class and discuss the attributes of the shapes found in each puzzle and how these attributes contributed to the overall shape of each puzzle. Challenge kids to create their own unique puzzles using colored pencils, and then hang the puzzles around the classroom. Have the class go on a gallery walk and use a sticky note to leave at least one constructive comment about any of their classmates’ puzzles.
As they play, kids can learn about two-dimensional shapes, spatial reasoning, and shape attributes like the number of edges and angles in each shape. They have to drag and rotate shapes so they fit (without overlapping) into puzzles made of various configurations of the shapes. Kids practice problem-solving as they figure out how to manipulate the puzzle pieces and lay the foundation for understanding more complex concepts like nets of three-dimensional shapes. The option to create their own puzzles empowers kids and boosts creativity. If kids struggle, they can access visual cues and hints. Constructive feedback is given for incorrect placement and/or rotation of shapes.
While gameplay is fun, it’s not always apparent what kids are learning, and it’s tough to progress through the puzzles in a way that promotes particular skills or develops specific knowledge. It’s definitely fun, and it could be a great boon to teachers who want to extend kids’ creativity and understanding of shapes and how they fit together. Just keep in mind that explicit details about the shapes and the geometry concepts at hand will have to be layered on — it’s not baked in here.
Overall User Consensus About the App
The options to solve and create puzzles will keep kids busy and entertained. New puzzles are added regularly.
Curriculum and Instruction
Kids use problem-solving skills and spatial reasoning while learning about shapes. Gameplay is open-ended, but some kids might benefit from a more structured learning path.
Illustrated instructions and easily accessible hints help kids solve puzzles. Audio support is lacking, and it’s not clear how kids should progress through the activities.