A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Brilliant is a forum where motivated kids share math and physics problems and solutions. As with any online forum, there are some safety concerns, but it's mostly a safe place for math fiends to challenge each other and learn from their peers. Brilliant is definitely for high achievers already way into challenging concepts, so kids who are having a hard time with math or physics and who need extra help should look elsewhere for guidance.
What's it about?
Brilliant is an online community of learners who share and solve physics and math problems. Aimed toward kids with advanced math skills, it's particularly useful to those competing in Math or Science Olympiad contests. First, kids choose a topic: Algebra, Number Theory, Combinatorics, Electricity & Magnetism, Computer Science, Mechanics, Geometry, or Calculus. They're then given a choice of five problems, one at each of five levels. They'll solve the hardest one they can; this determines placement and the level of challenge from that point forward.
Each level is divided into ratings, and kids who boost their rating by correctly solving problems will get \"leveled up.\" They'll get three tries to solve a problem, but if they still can't figure it out, sample solutions are provided. And if they don't like the sample solution? Kids can request a clarification or dispute the answer.
Is it any good?
Brilliant is elegantly laid out and easy to navigate. It lets kids solve problems at their level while getting immediate feedback from other folks who are just as enthusiastic about math and physics. They'll appreciate the choices they get to make -- they get to pick the problems they find interesting. Even better, they can create their own problems to try to stump friends. The site's existing problems are moderately intriguing; they're pretty similar to the types of story problems you find in traditional math and physics textbooks.
A minor quibble: answers submitted don't require the use of units, which could be particularly problematic in physics. Note that this site is aimed toward "exceptional students," so it may not be appropriate for kids who are having difficulty with math or physics. Also, the forum is open to all math lovers over the age of 13, so make sure to talk to your kids about digital citizenship.
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