Saturday series on using educational apps for iTouch/iPhone/iPad continues with Rush Hour, a game that delves into puzzles and problem solving.
An electronic version of the popular sliding block logic puzzle, Rush Hour "tracks your moves and compares them to the shortest, most efficient path possible. When you solve the challenge in more than the minimum, you get challenged to do better… to keep playing until you get a PERFECT SCORE."
The free game has four levels: easy, medium, hard, expert... with 10 games on each of the first three levels and 5 games on the last.
Rush Hour is particularly good for spatial awareness and encourages players to look for patterns, a key "ingredient" to building mathematical thinking skills.
This game impressed me enough that I spent some time perusing the company website, Think Fun. On the website you can access a page on "How we use Rush Hour in Schools to Teach Thinking Skills." Downloadable teaching resources for Rush Hour are also available. You can print game boards and cut out vehicles for additional challenges.
The Think Fun website offers additional games and teaching resources. In my opinion, they live up to their "Think FUN" name:
Players must place candies on a tray, deducing which chocolate (with which attribute) goes in which location. It is an "exercise in deductive reasoning, and players become more effective as they acquire strategies that support their reasoning process." An on-line version of the game is posted here. Many lesson plans are also available, free.
Math Dice are games using a particular selection of dice (that I suppose you could independently purchase if you don't own the product...or, if you're like me, you already have a variety of numbered dice in your math cupboard.) Instructions are available in pdf form for games at several levels of challenge.
ThinkFun also has its own educational forum. Educators talk about innovative ways they've used the games.
Have FUN trying it all out! ;)
Disclaimer: I've only tried the free apps and the on-line games. ThinkFun has a lot of educational games/products available, but I haven't tried any but the free ones so far. I have no company ties. Bummer. 'Cause they're pretty cool! ;)