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Roller Coaster Challenge

Lower Age: 6+
Website: http://www.thinkfun.com/products/roller-coaster-challenge/
Price: $24.99
Year Added: 2017

Roller Coaster Challenge is an open-ended puzzle game that challenges children ages six and up to design small-scale roller coasters. Included in the kit is an instructions booklet, a game grid, a car for testing, 39 track pieces, 36 post pieces, 2 tunnel pieces, and 40 challenge cards of increasing difficulty. Track pieces are made out of a soft plastic, which makes assembly and deconstruction easy and painless for young children, and the connection points snap easily together. The instructions explicitly state the main challenge: create a roller coaster track that will carry the car from start to finish. The “SETUP” section on the challenge cards provides a picture of the game grid with only some of the parts of a finished track design. The “ADD TO GRID” section indicates what parts are needed to complete the challenge. The game encourages children to use evidence-based reasoning to figure out which parts are supposed to go together.  Children make observations and apply mathematics to reproduce the roller coaster designs shown on the challenge cards. After creating a prototype and testing the roller coaster, they can go back and make improvements to their track if the car fails to reach the finish. Beyond the 40 challenges, children are encouraged to be creative and generate design ideas for “the fastest, steepest, loopiest roller coaster” they can imagine. Roller Coaster Challenge involves kids in exercising their creative thinking and design skills through a unique and exciting challenge!

 

Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Define a problem, make observations, learn about the problem, idea generation, plan a solution, test and redesign the solution


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: A problem to be solved by developing a new solution, a client/user, criteria and constraints


Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: Spatial reasoning skills, critical thinking, problem solving

 

 

Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews

    • Rating:  3.9 out of 5.0

    • Feedback:

      • “I like how you get to be creative and you don't have to have the same result as the solution.” F, 12

      • “I like that you have to think about how you are going to make it. The game was fun, because it was challenging!” F, 11

      • “You have to put creativeness and thought into this. I recommend this to others who are inspired to be engineers.” F, 11

      • “It was fun to watch the little roller coaster car rolling down the track!” M, 11

  • Parents Reviews

    • Rating: 3.6 out of 5.0

    • Feedback:

      • “I liked that it encourages children to use their imagination, which is always good!” parent of an 11-year-old

      • “My daughter enjoyed this game, because it was something unique!” parent of a 5-year-old

      • “After you figure out how the pieces go together, it’s fun to make different coaster shapes. I think my kids learned lots of building and logic skills!” parent of an 8-year-old

  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews

    • Rating: 4.62 out of 5.0

    • Feedback:

      • “The primary reason this toy inspires engineering thinking is the way it requires the user to use spatial reasoning skills to create a solution.”

      • “I like how it has different levels, and encourages you to build your own roller coaster. It does have a lot of rules, but I think that really helps promote engineering thinking and design.”

      • “Children are likely to gain an understanding of the different track interactions as they play, which will help them solve the puzzles.”