Pixowl Launches The Sandbox EDU on iOS

The Sandbox EDUMobile game developer Pixowl has announced the launch of The Sandbox EDU, a new version of its original pixel-art Sandbox app, which was released in 2012. The Sandbox EDU was developed in collaboration with teachers of K-12 students, and is optimized for play by users six to 12 years old. In the game, players are given both an open-ended playground and goal oriented missions, where they can design original art while interacting with content based on science, technology, engineering and math.

For players familiar with the original Sandbox game, there are a few major differences in this version of the game. For instance, each game level (here called a “lesson”) provides an educational quote or science fact for kids to learn, and all levels and elements are directly accessible to players without any progression requirements. In addition, some elements from the original game have been removed, leaving only realistic physical elements and a “safer playground” that parents can trust. Finally, the online art gallery (for sharing one’s creations with others) is separated and moderated, continuing that theme of safety for kids.

The Sandbox EDU covers five topics within its approach to hands-on learning: Saving the Earth, Inside the Lab, Crazy Circuits, School of Music and Learn Pixel Art. This gameplay is said to complement the typical curriculum found in classrooms, and sees players learning about everything from volcanic activity to musical timing and rhythm.

In each level, players have a goal, which starts relatively simply. During the tutorial, for instance, players are taught how to create mud with the mix of water and soil, and how to create sand by eroding stone with water. From there, the world advances, and players learn about electricity, conductivity and more.

Meanwhile, in the Saving the Earth section, players learn about earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis and more by dragging their finger across ocean waves, dropping trigger objects into a volcano to cause it to erupt, using fire to melt snow and create clouds, and so on.

Each section of a lesson becomes more complex as players progress, with support for cause-and-effect action chains (for one), which challenge players to use reasoning to solve light puzzles and otherwise test what they’ve learned.

Outside of lesson-based gameplay, users can go into the free-play area of the game and create a world of their own design, using the game’s catalog of powers and elements (and their imaginations) to create and experiment.

“The Sandbox EDU app engages kids through play with real-world learning experiences as thrilling as designing machines to conducting science experiments and creating original art,” said Sebastien Borget, co-founder and COO of Pixowl, in a statement. “By enabling kids to take charge and follow their interests, they become motivated critical thinkers and problem solvers with the capacity to become the designers and inventors of tomorrow.”

The Sandbox EDU is available to download for $2.99 on the iTunes App Store.