We just finished a unit about 'Discoveries, Inventions and Innovations' that was also the theme for our PYP Exhibition. On the last day, we I introduced a video game that I thought was appropriate and it was such fun that we are setting up a tournament. It is called 'Crayon Physics Deluxe'.
Here's a description from their own site:
is a 2D physics puzzle / sandbox game, in which you get to experience what it would be like if your drawings would be magically transformed into real physical objects. Solve puzzles with your artistic vision and creative use of physics.
Since it came out a lot of copies of the game have popped up. I have one called 'Space Physics' for Android on my phone and one called 'Numpty Physics' running on the Lubuntu Linux machines in our classroom. But the original one is by far the best. You can play with a mouse but it is better with a writing tablet or tablet/touchscreen computer.
There is a circle/ball somewhere on the screen and a star someplace else. The object is to guide the ball to touch the star. You do this by drawing ramps, levers and other shapes on the screen. Almost everything in the game moves as though it were affected by gravity. You really have to try it to see. The demo that is available on their site is unlimited (I think) except that it does not allow you to play online. No big deal. I do encourage people to but it though. It was not developed by some huge game studio--it was developed by one guy independently.
We have been learning the 'Design Cycle' that is used in the MYP. As we go through the different levels, students discuss the boards in groups and then draw out potential solutions on scrap paper. They test their solutions and if they don't work, they go back to their groups and discuss how they can improve their plan. They may also just scrap it and try another one. I thought they would want to race through the different levels and see the whole game but this hasn't been the case. They want to try to find lots of different solutions to each problem--as the game itself suggests, "It's not about finding just any solution. It's about finding the awesomest one."
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