The Fluid Ether

(i)

 

Learning(i)

Fun strategy game with challenging physics concepts.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The first level of the game lays out the simple controls and objectives, and gameplay is very intuitive from there. It's possible to bypass the explanatory text on each level, so kids might miss the helpful questions and information that accompany each level.

Violence
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Sex
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Language
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Consumerism
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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

Subjects

Science

  • motion
  • physics

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • hypothesis-testing
  • investigation
  • problem solving
  • solving puzzles

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • motion
  • physics

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • hypothesis-testing
  • investigation
  • problem solving
  • solving puzzles

The Fluid Ether is a physics game where players use jets to move objects through an animated aquarium. Players try levels that focus on how density, size, and drag affect movement through fluids. By completing tasks on each level -- like gathering coins or breaking blocks -- players move on to "challenge" levels. Kids 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. The Fluid Ether has great potential to teach this often difficult-to-visualize concept, but it could better integrate learning concepts.

This Learning Rating review was written by Patricia Montic...

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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?

QUALITY

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.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Subscription price:N/A
Release date:June 26, 2013
Category:Educational Games
Size:14.00 MB
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

This review of The Fluid Ether was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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