Dragon Shapes: Geometry Challenge is an educational app that combines teaching geometry with a story set in ancient China and a series of tangram puzzles. It is designed for children aged 6-10 years, although older children and even adults will enjoy the challenge of completing the tangrams. The story is narrated but the additional information about shapes is not, so reading is required to get full educational value from the app. The app is free to download and comes with fourteen puzzles unlocked; there is a single in-app purchase to unlock all fifty puzzles. The parental section is locked with a press and hold button, this area contains the IAP and external links; the links are disabled by default and need to be switched on in this area. There is also an option to switch off sound effects.
Druzzle the dragon lives in the village of Tan in ancient China. One night whilst watching smoke rising from the chimneys in the village, Druzzle sees smoke in the shape of the dragon; he follows it and gets lost. The village folk are distraught and want to find him, the only clue is some dragon scales of different shapes that he left behind – will re-arranging them give a clue? They arrange the scales to form a butterfly and one brave warrior follows it on a quest to get Druzzle back. To succeed in the quest he must solve many different puzzles and become the Shape Master!
The student gets to join the warrior on his quest and they too can become a Shape Master. There are four levels of puzzles to solve, each increasing in difficulty, and between each level there is another installment of the story. Each level includes a sequence of geometric puzzles themed to the characters from the story: butterfly, turtle, mountain goat, and dragon. As the student solves the puzzles they also learn geometric terminology and features of different shapes. This starts simple such as: how many sides a triangle has and progresses to more complex terms such as understanding what “a quadrilateral with four equal and parallel sides” means (a square!) If they get stuck at any point help is at hand- just tap on the light bulb to get hints one step at a time.
The tangram puzzles themselves are created using various sized triangles, a square and a parallelogram. The student is always given the correct number of pieces, but may need to rotate them to solve the puzzle. As they progress through the levels they learn different ways of looking at shapes and how to create shapes using others. The puzzles start out very simple but grow to very complex ones in the higher levels. To add an additional challenge in the later levels they also learn to “copy shapes” -re-creating a shape without a template; and they also learn to create a shape with only written directions and no visual clues.
I used this app with my six-year-old and ten-year-old sons and they both loved it, and I really enjoyed playing it myself too!
Overall, this is a really well done app. It feels like a fun combination of a story and a series of puzzles, but at the same time it is teaching some important mathematical skills. By playing the app students work on their spatial awareness, visualization and rotation skills as well as learning terminology and attributes of different geometric shapes. The one thing I would like to see added in a future update is narration in the puzzle section- this would allow children who are not yet proficient readers to fully access the app. Both my sons and I really enjoyed playing the app and solving the puzzles, and even as an adult I found some of the later puzzles challenging. I really felt we learned to look at shapes in a different way by completing all the steps. Highly recommended – an educational app that is fun, challenging, addicting, and teaches new skills in a way that feels like playing rather than learning. I’d definitely recommend downloading it- the free version has a lot of gameplay, and if you enjoy that, $2.99 to unlock the full game is great value for an app of this quality
If you’d like to download Dragon Shapes: Geometry Challenge, ($FREE, iPad/iPhone; ) please use this link so they’ll know who sent you: Dragon Shapes: Geometry Challenge – Lighthouse Learning
The app includes 14 puzzles for free, there is an in-app purchase (currently $2.99) which unlocks all 50 puzzles.
Dragon Shapes - Lumio Geometry Challenge
by Lighthouse Learning
Solve math puzzles and unlock the legend of Dragon Shapes!
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).