Question Builder

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
Question Builder App Poster Image
App offers great practice with answering abstract questions.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to make inferences and answer abstract questions with this learning tool for elementary-age kids and kids with special needs. The options for difficulty level, question type, and types of reinforcement (audio, text, and color) make this very customizable for kids with various learning styles and challenges. This flexible tool can can also serve to help kids develop communication skills such as asking questions, communicating effectively, and speaking. Question Builder supports kids in learning key developmental skills and can be a useful resource for parents and teachers.

Ease of Play

An info section has full explanations of the app for parents. The app is designed for adult-guided use and opens directly to the settings menu, where adults can customize the learning experience for individual kids. The play mode is very simple, but kids will need strong reading skills or an adult nearby to select from the text-only answers to each question.

Violence & Scariness

A few of the pictures involve very mild violence, such as one fish eating another.

Sexy Stuff

A few of the animations that follow correct answers are just a touch crass, such as a donkey shaking its butt while shouting "Oh, yeah!"

Language
Consumerism

Parents can provide an email address to join the Parent Center and receive information about the app and other family activities, including age-targeted apps. There are also links to purchase other apps. A simple math problem tests whether users are parents before taking them to the store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Question Builder is a highly customizable app that asks kids to answer questions based on pictures. Parents or teachers can select the question type and the difficulty level -- low difficulty questions refer directly to the pictures, while high difficulty questions require abstract reasoning and strong use of context clues. Kids need relatively strong reading skills to answer the questions. Correct answers are reinforced with verbal praise and animations; some of the animations might startle younger kids. Parents or teachers can create multiple profiles for numerous users.

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What's it about?

In the settings menu, adults can choose the type of question (why, where, how, what, or random) and whether to use color, text, and audio reinforcement. The three difficulty levels provide a range in the amount of abstract inference required to answer the questions and the number of answer choices. When playing, kids see a cartoon picture and hear a question related to that picture. They then select an answer from the multiple choices. The app records detailed statistics on kids' answers by question type and difficulty level.

Is it any good?

This is an excellent app for its stated purpose: to help kids learn to answer questions. The multiple difficulty levels make it very customizable for different ages, and the use of color, audio, and verbal reinforcement helps reach kids with different learning styles. While the animations can sometimes be a bit garish, kids will find them delightful. Unlike StoryBuilder, the stats from this app cannot be shared -- which limits it somewhat, but also means it's safer for kids. (This app also has more diversity in its cartoon characters than StoryBuilder!) At the higher difficulty levels, kids may need adults to understand why their answer is correct, because some answers require a lot of abstract inference.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Set up the app based on your kids' learning needs.

  • Talk through the questions with your kids. If they are struggling, explain your own thinking process for a few of the questions.

App details

For kids who love to learn

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