I see you rolling your eyes at me. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What does Angry Birds have to do with homeschooling?” Well, I’ll tell you.
With the release of Angry Birds Space, Rovio has teamed up with NASA to teach people about gravity. Gravity plays a big role in the new installment of everyone’s favorite flustered fowls and requires a little bit more finesse when trying to take down those egg-stealing pigs than chucking birds at barriers.
It seems far-fetched to think that a game like Angry Birds Space is educational. Most of us geek parents spent time trying to get our kids to stop playing the game (so we can play it too). NASA helped design the physics-engine used in Angry Bird Space (Source) and has even dedicated a webpage that can be accessed from within the game about gravity and micro-gravity. You can check out that website at http://www.nasa.gov/microgravity/
Still not convinced? How about this quote from NASA about their work with Rovio?
Angry Birds Space has provided NASA an opportunity to share a core concept of space exploration: gravity. Not only does gravity play a vital role in the game but, in general, gravity is a force that governs motion throughout the universe. It holds us to the ground, and it keeps the moon in orbit around Earth and Earth around the sun. The nature of gravity was first described by Sir Isaac Newton more than 300 years ago. Now three centuries later and more than 200 miles above our home planet on the International Space Station, astronaut Don Pettit shares the thrill of concepts like gravity and trajectories with some help from Red Bird.
Are you convinced yet? No? They baked some science into this game so it qualifies as physics, right? If you’re still not convinced then you probably don’t want to read any further unless you’re curious about the game.
The premise behind Angry Birds Space is the same as previous version of the game: evil, green pigs steal the bird’s eggs and that makes the birds angry enough to hurl themselves at the kidnappers to get their eggs back.
Players aim their birds with a slingshot at the pigs and barricades in an attempt to take out all the pigs on each level. The levels get increasingly difficult and require a little more strategy as the game progresses.
The birds now have new superpowers to help reach their goal and this is helpful because now there’s gravity and zero-g to take into consideration when planning your destruction.
Game-play is simple and intuitive and each time a new bird is earned a brief tutorial appears to show how to use each bird effectively.
A word of caution: Angry Birds Space includes in-app purchases. This can get expensive if you have a young child that doesn’t understand they’re using real money to play the game. You can disable in-app purchases on your iOS device by going to Settings >> General >> Restrictions and turning it off. This is a good policy overall when configuring a device for your kids. An iTunes allowance is option as well.
Overall, I’d say for 99 cents this is a must-have game even if you think the educational aspect is lacking. If anything, it can lead to discussions about gravity, micro-gravity, the temperature of space, and the physics behind motion. I highly recommend the video that accompanies the NASA webpage. It’s fun and your kids will enjoy it and hopefully learn something too.
Angry Birds Space
Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
Angry Birds Space HD
Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
Disclosure: I received no compensation or perks to review this product. Affiliate links appear in this review.