What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Algodoo is a 2-D physics sandbox. Kids can create and manipulate a variety of objects and mechanisms and change their properties using contextual menus. For example, in a given "scene," or file, Algodoo can model anything from a block of stone sliding down an icy ramp to a rocket car taking off in low gravity to a complex sorting machine or a computer that uses physical gates to compute solutions. It's also possible to make games in Algodoo. Algobox is a generally kid-friendly online community of users who share their projects. Mentors and teachers also can register to access and create physics lessons for Algodoo. Robust tutorials support beginners well, but users can get just about as complex as they want in two dimensions using the game's materials, properties, and math.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- following directions
Thinking & Reasoning
- defining problems
- problem solving
- developing novel solutions
- making new creations
- work to achieve goals
- developing resilience
- meeting challenges together
- digital creation
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
Algodoo has thorough, welcoming tutorials. The cause-and-effect relationships between what's designed and how things play out on-screen are clear. It's easy to undo mistakes and to replay a scene until you know what's happening.
It's easy to play with basic concepts such as friction, gravity, and light, and the physics learning and vocabulary transfer across settings. Projects on the Algobox community help players learn to make more complex machines.
Multi-step tutorials teach new players all the basics. Algodoo's science lessons feature built-in prediction and reflection questions to help players think through what they're learning instead of just following directions.
What's it about?
In ALGODOO, kids play as engineers, inventors, and scientists exploring (and building with) the cause-and-effect relationships among energy, objects, and materials. Friction, gravity, light, magnetism: they're all here for kids to discover as they complete tutorials and create "scenes" -- or playable scenarios -- that demonstrate scientific principles via the players' created models and mechanisms. There can be a lot to keep track of for those looking for a challenge, but it's also fairly easy to get up and running with something like a laser and a prism to engage kids and get them thinking about how our world works.
Is it any good?
Algodoo is a great entry point for learning physics. Because it's a two-dimensional sandbox, it's a much more welcoming experience than something like the popular three-dimensional physics puzzler Garry's Mod. It's easy to see how objects attach to each other or interact with one another in two dimensions as compared to three. Thorough tutorials help kids master the basics, and the Algobox community features plenty of projects from which to draw inspiration for more advanced work. The "lessons" section offers tutorials that teach discrete, specific topics in physics. Algodoo is like a Scratch for physics; it starts where kids are but can spiral up in complexity as they learn.
Families can talk about...
Families can explore how kids can become digital creators with Algodoo.
Families can explore how real-world objects and energy sources -- such as prisms and flashlights -- interact with one another.
Families can explore local science museums and events to learn new ideas to test in Algodoo.