App Description: This app, designed by PBS Kids for children ages 6-9, fosters understanding of building 3D shapes from 2D nets. Buzz and Delete from Cyberchase are trying to rebuild the flattened houses of Botopolis back with the original 3-dimensional structures. The app developers describe the learning goals of the app saying, “The game also helps develop spatial reasoning skills and the ability to visualize and manipulate objects in 3-dimensional space.” A cool feature of the app is that the nets start becoming more complex, consisting of more than one shape, as you move to higher levels. You will be faced with challenges such as creating and stacking two or more 3D shapes to resemble the structure Buzz and Delete need for their city.
How We Use It: At the Children’s Museum of Houston, we use this app in our Cyberchase Rebuild Eureeka exhibit which is exactly what the app represents. The only difference here is that the exhibit is hands-on where you build 3D shapes from the nets in order to rebuild the flattened city of Eureeka. However it is much more difficult to put the 3D shapes together in the exhibit as compared to doing it on the app. Therefore the exhibit serves as the challenge factor after the visitor has interacted with the app. In addition the app is also used as a step-by-step tutorial for making complex 3D shapes similar to the one in the higher levels of the game.
Our facilitators let the visitors play with the app to learn about what nets are required to build a shape such as a 3D triangle or square. If the kids are older and are interested in making complex shapes, then our facilitators use the app as a step-by-step tutorial for creating different 3D shapes. They allow the visitors to choose a 3D shape on the app or create their own design, lay out the nets as shown in the app and encourage them to identify the nets in the exhibit required to build the structure. Then they start building each of the nets with reference to the steps on the app. The facilitators ask the kids to do simple challenges such as counting the number of faces the shape has or identifying what shape each of the face is.
Important Note: The levels after 6 involve identification of the nets to build a shape that Buzz and Delete want. You have to choose the net from 3-4 different nets to make the required house structure. The structure could involve more than one 3D shape. Receive 3 stars if you can do it in just a few seconds. These levels are more complex and you can’t reach them unless you play all the other levels. It is important to note that the game does not become addictive and serves the purpose of being a reference for the hands-on Rebuild Eureeka exhibit.