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IQube

Lower Age: 8+
Website: https://www.tactiles.io/
Price: $199.00
Year Added: 2017

IQube is a circuit design set with 20 circuit parts, including a switch, a lamp, and a fan, that teaches children ages eight and up about electronic components and how they come together to make a circuit. It offers an innovative way for children to learn basic concepts of electricity and circuits by using cubic circuit components, all of which magnetically attach to one another. In order to take full advantage of the set, the free Tactiles IQube app can be installed on a mobile device through the Apple App Store or Google Play, as well as on Mac or Windows via the official website, tactiles.io. Unfortunately, the mobile version of the IQube app has some connection and readability issues, so the desktop version of the app is recommended. The app includes over 90 projects that kids can choose to complete! Each project on the app typically begins with an animated explanation of relevant terms, such as voltage, resistance, and current. After learning about the concept and passing a short one-question quiz, the app proceeds to introduce a real-world problem with a client/user. For example, children might be asked to help farmer Anya with her incubator by designing a device that rings loudly and fans the chickens on warm afternoons. Notably, the app also introduces children to a diverse cast of characters. For example, children are sometimes asked to solve problems posed by a female engineer. An important component of the app is the “Check my Circuit” button. If children receive a “Try Again” message, they must analyze their circuit prototypes to identify the error and make improvements to their design. If children work their way through all of the existing projects, they are encouraged to design their own circuits; the app has a separate “Create Anything” tab on the home screen just for that purpose! By solving real-world problems and designing their own circuits, children practice spatial reasoning, problem solving, and critical thinking while using creative thinking and evidence-based reasoning.

 

 

Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Define a problem, idea generation, plan a solution, try the solution, create a prototype or process, test the solution, analyze a solution, redesign a solution, make improvements to their solution, apply science


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: A problem to be solved by developing a new or improved object, tool, or process, a user, criteria, constraints


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

 

 

Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating:  4.75 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I didn't want to put it away! It was neat to see all the things it can do.” M, 9
      • “It was fun and there were lots of magnets to put together. I liked that you had to put the magnets together to solve it.” F, 10
      • “I liked it, because it's a mystery where to put the blocks.” F, 10
  • Parents Reviews
    • Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I think the packaging and components are very exceptionally made.” parent of a 10-year-old
  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “This game gives children problems to solve and encourages them to think up solutions. I like that it also includes a "free play" space where they can make whatever they want.”
      • “iQube is my favorite of the circuit-building toys. The lessons are well-built, and are related to real-world problem solving. I really love that the lessons are open-ended, instead of allowing the player to blindly copy circuits to achieve results for reasons they likely do not grasp, which many of the other circuit building toys rely on.”
      • “iQube does a good job of explaining many of the science topics behind electricity and circuits.”