I read a review of the physics-based game Armadillo Run. It sounded cool, so I downloaded the trial and gave it a whirl.
This game revolves around building structures to get the ball from its start point to the endzone. This may involve bridging gaps, rolling down ramps, climbing hills, jumping walls, etc. You are supplied with a budget and various structural elements such as cloth, rope, metal plates, metal girders, elastic bands, and compressible rubber; you must arrange them in a fashion to accomplish the task. Gravity and potential energy in stretched and compressed members are your only sources of motive energy. There are innumerable ways to solve each problem, but some may break the budget, and others may break the structure! Each structural element exhibits flex and a breaking point. Correct construction of frame members is necessary to support things. This is a great learning tool for would-be engineers, too!
Go here for some screenshots of structures completed. But really, these screen shots do not demonstrate the serious coolness of watching real physics at work on the creations. If you were ever bothered by the bouncing balls not describing parabolic motion when you won the windows solitare game, you will love this game. Download the demo, go through the various levels, then watch the structures that they have created as a “see what you can do with this?” add-on at the end.
If you were a fan of Lemmings, get this. If you were a fan of an of the artillery games, get this. If you like puzzles, get this. If you aren’t sure, and don’t think you have the time for another computer game, do not download the demo, because you will be hooked.
A ping to Jamescronen.com: This should be required playing for your AP physics students.