Anyone remember the old Roller Coaster Tycoon games? I LOVED them! As an avid roller coaster fan, building my own amusement park represented the next logical step. I could manage money, build coasters and ride to meet the desires of my ‘guests,’ all within a safe simulation. So of course I used it when I taught. Students received ‘free play’ on it at times, at other times, I put groups on it and gave a scenario. I definitely think this improved collaboration and critical thinking.
So…how about the tablets? Any good apps similar? Well, no Roller Coaster Tycoon that I could find, but I did find Rollercoaster Designer. Much, much more simplistic, but I believe the physics and problem solving come in nicely. You are presented with starting flag and an ending flag at the other side of the screen. You see so many coins your coaster must pass through to ‘win’ the stage. Your job is to design a coaster to stay on the tracks, get the coins, and make it to the other side. And if you can get hearts from your riders, even better. You may have lift hills. You may need a loop. But just keep the coaster on the tracks! My girl and I crashed many a coaster as we played.
I like problem solving games like this. They may not always neatly fall in a school subject like Math or Literature, but they help establish critical thinking. Collaboration. Planning. I would definitely find times to use this in my classroom.
Find it for Android at the Play Store: