The Fluid Ether
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Fluid Ether is an attractive, engaging physics game that lets kids explore fluid dynamics. It seems that it would be best-used in conversation with kids; there are thought-provoking questions on each level about how and why objects move in certain ways, and kids might understand the game better -- and get the most out of it -- by discussing these questions with a parent or friend.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- solving puzzles
Engagement, Approach, Support
Every level is visually appealing, and the objectives are instantly clear. The gameplay is responsive enough to encourage persistence. It's easy to track progress through each task, level, and challenge.
There's great learning potential here, but it could be better integrated into the game. It's possible to play through all the levels and not pause to read the explanations of why these objects move as they do.
The in-level questions have the potential to provoke great conversations about how and why objects move in certain ways. The accompanying website offers further exploration and more activities for teachers and students.
What's it about?
In this physics game, players use water jets to move objects through fluid in an animated aquarium. Players advance to higher levels by completing different tasks and experimenting with how density, size, and drag affect movement through fluids. Players also can experiment further by creating their own levels using any elements from the game and creating their own tasks from a lengthy preset list.
Is it any good?
The Fluid Ether's only drawback is that the learning content isn't necessarily integrated within the game; it's possible to play through the levels without reflecting on the greater topics at hand. Without learning the concepts, it's possible that kids may eventually become stuck and lose interest. It's probably best for parents to offer some guidance.
Nevertheless, the gameplay is responsive and intuitive -- kids can instantly see the effects of their actions, and they can correct their choices immediately. For example, in the Drag Challenge level, the goal is to move a ball through a maze without hitting any walls. If players hit a wall, they can easily reset the water jets from their last positions to make slight adjustments. In every level, the objects and animated water jets move like they would in the real world. It's a great way for kids to experiment digitally in a way that's most certainly messier in real life.
Families can talk about...
Parents can use the Pause button and read the built-in questions aloud. Help kids describe what they're seeing and what they expect to happen when they change certain variables.
Encourage kids to build their own levels to experiment further with how objects move under different conditions.