Coaster Crafter: Build. Ride. Scream!

Common Sense Media says

Learn physics while designing your own roller coaster.

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

A young female character with a strong grasp of physical science leads the game. She does show some contempt for her father being cheap and creating roller coaster problems.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Players can register to save their progress. No personally identifiable information is required, but players can share their designs on social networking sites under their own accounts. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Coaster Crafter: Build. Ride. Scream! is an immersive game that teaches kids about force and motion while they design, build, and test virtual roller coasters. Coaster Crafter is designed to support STEM learning (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and its content is aligned with state and national standards in those areas. Parents should have no reservations about letting their middle or high schooler play, but should check the Technical Requirements section beforehand; they may need to download new versions of software or change the screen resolution to get the full experience.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • momentum
  • motion
  • physics

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • hypothesis-testing
  • problem solving

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • imagination

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Graphics and gameplay are intuitive and visually appealing. The problem-based design will draw most kids in, and creative play will keep them engaged, although the thrill of designing their own courses may lose its novelty after a few hours.

Learning Approach

Earning more pieces to use in the construction challenges is a great incentive to complete the structured learning activities. Lessons start off at a high level, but animations make the difficulty reasonable for the suggested ages.

Support

Very useful help section provides clear fixes for most problems. The teachers page offers fantastic support for educators, including curriculum resources and ways to extend learning beyond the game.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • momentum
  • motion
  • physics

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • hypothesis-testing
  • problem solving

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • imagination

Kids can learn principles of force and motion, specifically; inertia, velocity, acceleration, gravity, mass, momentum, friction, and potential and kinetic energy. Kids then strengthen their thinking, reasoning, and evaluation skills while troubleshooting problematic roller coaster designs. Levels of support adjust accordingly; when kids take the Coaster Challenges, they get no hints and must rely on new knowledge to be successful. Coaster Crafter's activities provide a fun environment to learn about motion and can encourage kids to stick with a challenge until the problem is solved.

This Learning Rating review was written by Michelle Kitt

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Bruno, of Bruno's World, builds mediocre roller coasters. With Bruno's brainy daughter Brunette as their guide, kids learn how to make great roller coasters. In the Design Challenge area, kids view problematic designs and learn about a concept, like friction, to answer questions and fix them. Kids then take their new knowledge to the Coaster Challenge area and try to build coasters to spec. A free play area lets kids build their own roller coasters with parts they've earned doing the challenges.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Roller coasters are popular hooks for teaching force and motion; Cable in the Classroom has done that well with COASTER CRAFTER: BUILD. RIDE. SCREAM!. The visually appealing amusement park setting (complete with the occasional tattooed lady or strong man) is engaging. Simple graphics, text, and audio are effective teaching tools. With a blend of structured learning and exploration, kids will enjoy challenges to fix roller coaster designs, motivated by the reward of roller coaster parts to use later on their own. The physics-based simulations respond accurately to their designs; if something fails, kids can see why. Also, the female lead character with an expertise in science is a nice touch for girls.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about male and female stereotypes in the media. Why would game developers use a female character to lead a science based game?

  • Discuss the how simulations help people learn. Why do we use simulations? Can they prepare us enough for the real thing? Even pilots and doctors, who work with detailed simulators, have to log hours in real planes and with real patients before going out on their own. Why?

  • Foster an interest in physics with a look at our favorite physics-based games for kids.

Website details

Genre:Educational
Topics:Science and nature
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Coaster Crafter: Build. Ride. Scream! was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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.

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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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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 September 22, 2012
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

coaster crafter

simulators, have to log hours in real planes and with real patients before going out on their own. Why? Foster an interest in physics with a look at our favorite physics-based games for kids.
What other families should know
Great messages
Safety and privacy concerns
Teen, 13 years old Written byflowerkatie September 3, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

dont bother

this game is terrible
Kid, 12 years old August 28, 2012
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Good for learning

I think this website is cool and its good for learning. I suggest that people that are under 12 dont go on it.

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