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Advanced math and physics buffs will dig difficult problems.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn about high school math and physics as they answer questions online. They'll choose to follow topics isuch as Algebra, Number Theory, Combinatorics, Electricity & Magnetism, Computer Science, Mechanics, Geometry, and Calculus. After taking an evaluative quiz, they'll be able to work on questions of appropriate difficulty in each of their chosen topics. Plus, kids will learn what it's like to be a part of an online community, contributing their own content and ideas. This adaptive forum is a great place for math and physics buffs to find tons of new challenges. 

Positive messages

Kids see that anyone can create math and physics problems to share with the world. 

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.  

Kids say

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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. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about math as a tool. How do you use math as a consumer or at work?

  • Want to talk more about digital citizenship? Check out our Tips for Teens and Parents.

Website details

Subjects:Math: algebra, calculus, geometry
Science: electricity, motion, physics
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: asking questions, problem solving
Self-Direction: academic development
Topics:Numbers and letters
Pricing structure:Free

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Parent Written bykayweb February 4, 2014


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