Whack A Bone

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
Whack A Bone App Poster Image
Quirky pirate-themed games make learning about bones a snap.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn the names and positions of the major bones in the human body. If kids want to learn more, there are brief descriptions of each bone at the start of the first three games. The games are designed to teach through repetition and practice, but they do so in a fun and engaging way. Memorization is the name of the game in this app, which is essential for learning human anatomy. Whack A Bone's practical, hands-on games get kids engaged in learning about anatomy.

Ease of Play

Navigation is fairly intuitive, but some prior knowledge of bones would make the games more meaningful.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Whack A Bone is a series of educational games that teach kids the major bones of the human body. Kids drag bones to the correct place on a given body part and then are challenged to tap the bones as fast as possible while a parrot calls out the names of the bones. The final challenge is a race against the clock to tap all the bones on a skeleton named Harold. Best times are displayed and stored, and a percent score is given in the final game, which engages kids and motivates them to keep trying. Some may find the parrot squawks annoying, but the sound can be turned off without affecting the learning experience. 

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What's it about?

There are four games in WHACK A BONE, and each game must be unlocked before you move on to the next one. Kids begin learning the bones in the core of the body, move on to the arm and then the leg, and then apply what they've learned to the entire body. There are two levels in each of the first three games. Kids begin by dragging the bones to the correct position on a labeled model. If they get it wrong, they have to keep trying until they get it right. Then, kids tap each bone on the model after a parrot squawks the name of the bone. There's a list you can use if you don't want to hear the squawking. If kids tap the wrong bone, they must keep tapping and get it right before moving to the next bone. After completing the third game, kids apply what they've learned by tapping the bones on a complete skeleton model. The tapping games are timed, and the best times are stored, which encourages kids to keep practicing.

Is it any good?

Whack A Bone will appeal to kids who want to learn about bones in the human body. The pirate theme and timed challenges make it a fun and engaging learning experience. However, once kids have mastered the levels and memorized all the bones, they may grow tired of the games; some extension activities would add value and extend learning beyond memorization and recall. It also would be nice if the timed feature could be turned off so kids could practice at their own pace, if desired. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Find and make a copy of an unlabeled skeleton, and challenge kids to label the bones.

  • Take turns trying to beat each other's scores.

App details

  • Devices: iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Science: biology
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, memorization, part-whole relationships
  • Price: $2.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: November 27, 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 23.80 MB
  • Publisher: Media Saints
  • Version: 1.0.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.0 or later

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