Algodoo

Common Sense Media says

2-D physics sandbox fosters awesome inventions.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Supportive tutorial language and questions help kids build scientific thinking skills and confidence with physics and engineering.

Positive role models

There aren't any characters in Algodoo; it's purely a sandbox title, though community members can share projects and lessons with one another to teach and learn online.

Ease of play

There's a lot of physics to learn and experiement with in Algodoo, but excellent tutorials and a 2-D, rather than 3-D, interface make it easy to get started and imagine new things to build.

Violence

Since Algodoo is a sandbox physics engine, users can model machines such as guns as well as the effects of force on people and on other creatures and objects. Consequently, some projects shared on the Algobox community have some violence.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Although there's generally little to worry about with Algodoo and its online Algobox community, some users can't resist modeling potty humor.

Consumerism

Algodoo is free to download and free of commericial content; if you want to support the developers, you can buy the game from the App Store.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A few of the tens of thousands of projects shared through Algobox feature drug and alcohol references.

Privacy & safety

Saving and sharing work to the Algobox community requires registration with a username, a password, and an email address, as does signing up to create and share lessons. Parents should make accounts to manage and share with younger kids.

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

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions

Math

  • algebra
  • arithmetic
  • geometry

Science

  • measurement
  • physics
  • engineering

Arts

  • drawing

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • defining problems
  • hypothesis-testing
  • problem solving

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • making new creations

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • self-assessment
  • work to achieve goals

Emotional Development

  • developing resilience
  • persevering

Collaboration

  • meeting challenges together

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions

Math

  • algebra
  • arithmetic
  • geometry

Science

  • measurement
  • physics
  • engineering

Arts

  • drawing

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • defining problems
  • hypothesis-testing
  • problem solving

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • making new creations

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • self-assessment
  • work to achieve goals

Emotional Development

  • developing resilience
  • persevering

Collaboration

  • meeting challenges together

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

In Algodoo, kids use two-dimensional modeling to learn a variety of introductory physics concepts such as friction, gravity, and light. Once they have these basics down, kids can use their building skills and apply physics knowledge to create machines with interacting components such as gears, lasers, motors, springs, and thrusters. These creations can get surprisingly complex -- for instance, machines that sort objects by shape or mass, or even vehicles and games. Kids can use Algodoo to learn how to model natural and man-made phenomena and to take their scientific knowledge back and forth between simulations and the outside world.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sansing

Parents say

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Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Algoryx
Release date:September 1, 2009
Genre:Simulation
Topics:Science and nature

This review of Algodoo was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old January 14, 2014
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Awesome!!!

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. 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.
Kid, 11 years old November 1, 2014
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Physical awesomeness!

This game is an amazing physics sandbox. Kids will learn relatively advanced physics with settings where you can change the density, mass, and attraction levels of shapes. It also encourages creating things. From cars to black holes, from mechs to spaceships, anything is possible!
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old December 9, 2014
AGE
5
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Awesome

Helps learn, but a lot like Garry's mod, I rec Garry's mod for a more fun and action game that is just like this
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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