Apparatus--A Useful App for Simple Machines

So we all know tablets possess the ‘wow factor’ for students.  You definitely earn their interest and engagement with using them.  But the argument goes on–are tablets (and iPads) for content consumption or content creation?  If the former, then I really do not see the need to spend lots of money buying a bunch of tablets if they can just watch videos, browse websites, and play drill-n-kill games.  But, if on the other hand, we can find ways where students can apply the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and really use higher level thinking skills, then let’s open the checkbook.

Apparatus appears to be an app that will allow you to create and/or evaluate content.  In the app (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.bithack.apparatuslite), you receive a challenge to move marbles to a goal.  You must then build a simple machine to complete the task.  It allows you to make levers, bridges, use motors, and a variety of other things to complete the goal.  I can definitely see a class with a few tablets with this app on.  The teacher can divide kids in groups, and monitor their work, as the game will provide feedback as well.  Definitely would be a good real-world feedback of the principles behind simple machines.