Category Archives: Science

Awesome Eats

Screen Shot 2013-02-01 at 4.14.56 PMThis app was developed for the Whole Kids Foundation which is connected to the Whole Foods Market stores.  Students learn healthy eating tips while sorting, stacking, packing, and plating an assortment of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

The app has two chapters and each has 16 levels which quickly increase in difficulty.  Each level requires students to complete a task, such as ‘Move food around the obstacles’ (while the food items are moving on a conveyor belt).

An ‘Awesome Eats’ tip or fact pops up after each level.  One says, “Put grapes in the freezer for a cool treat on a hot day.”

I obviously appreciate the promotion of healthy eating and the varying levels of difficulty.  (In fact, I was even challenged by quite a few levels!) But I also highly recommend this app because it requires intense focus as students try to complete each level.  I can see it becoming addicting (in a good way – if that’s possible) and it really is good, clean fun.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Science | Comments Off on Awesome Eats

iTooch Elementary School

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 5.15.21 PMiTooch is not only the name of this series of apps, it’s also the name of the accompanying character. Once choosing a grade/age level and subject, students can choose which chapter (or skill) they’d like to work on.  They’ll then choose the mode – practice (not timed) or test (timed).  They can touch the iTooch character at any time for assistance.

The developers have included variety in the types of questions found in both modes; some are multiple-choice, others ask students to touch the correct answer within the question.  As students accurately answer a certain number of questions (thus accumulating a certain number of points), they move up to higher levels that have more difficult questions.  At any time – no matter the subject – students can touch the pencil at the bottom of the screen to bring up a chalkboard to work on.  A click on the settings wheel allows the user to change the grading system (number correct divided by the number of questions or a letter grade).  The ‘User Feedback’ option can also be turned on or off.

While the actual app is free, most of the content will need to be purchased in-app.  I say “most” because a handful of chapters are ‘unlocked’ when the app is initially obtained.  However, stand alone apps are also available for some grade levels.  These contain all of the subjects available for those particular grade levels and are less expensive than purchasing the subjects individually.

I appreciate the effort the developers of this app – eduPad – took to include detailed instructions for use.  Students can touch several places to bring up tips and tricks.  It’s also quite clear that they are committed to receiving and responding to feedback from users.  This is the first time I’ve seen an in-app way to send the developers an email.

I have mixed reviews about this app.  It’s clear that it provides students with access to many, many questions for each subject.  I also appreciate how there are chapters (or sub-topics) for each subject.  But, all of the in-app purchase options can be confusing and a little misleading.  (I assume the developers offered the app this way so that you can customize the options you need for your child/student.)  Also, in order to track progress for more than one user, you must log in to Apple’s Game Center.  That’s certainly not an option most teachers want to use.

Subjects and Grade/Age Levels Covered

– Grade 3 (ages 8 – 9): Math, Language Arts, Science

– Grade 4 (ages 9 – 10): Math, Language Arts, Science

– Grade 5 (ages 10 – 11): Math, Language Arts, Science, and Health

Posted in 3rd - 5th, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Learning Apps, Math, Paid, Science | Comments Off on iTooch Elementary School

NASA App HD

Download this app for the space fanatic in your life!  Although it would also make a great addition to any classroom where students study anything even remotely related to space and the solar system.  It features an abundance of images, news, and video clips about everything related to space – from all the planets (including poor Pluto!) to asteroids, comets, and meteors, to the remainder of the universe.  An active wifi connection is required in order to access all of the content.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Science | Comments Off on NASA App HD

Fotopedia National Parks

Contained in this app is a collection of over 3,000 stunning photographs from the 58 national parks in the United States.  All photographs were taken by QT Luong.  Along with the photographs, the app also includes stories and captions.

Here are a few tasks you can perform with this app:

  • Use the slideshow option to view beautiful photos from a variety of parks in random order
  • View the national park’s location on a map
  • Read a story about specific places within the parks
  • Order print copies of the photographs
  • Perform a search by parks, states, wildlife, landforms, or facilities
  • Add items to ‘Your Trip’ for vacation planning (or for a virtual field trip)

This free app should be on all mobile devices simply for its breathtaking photographs.  But that’s especially the case in states where there is at least one national park and/or when a science standard covers an aspect of national parks.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, PreK - Kindergarten, Science | Comments Off on Fotopedia National Parks

Science 360

This robust app was developed by the National Science Foundation.  It features many photographs and video clips on an abundance of science topics.  Because there isn’t a way to search for a specific topic, this app would be best for a student who is just looking to gain new knowledge from the images and/or video clips.  You are able to view related videos once you select a video to initially watch.  

Please note that it takes a few minutes for this app to fully load due to the amount of information contained in it.  Users are able to share images and video clips via Twitter, Facebook, or email.  I’m impressed with the frequency in which new content is added.  I can see this being a favorite app for students who love science.

Posted in 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Free, iPad, Science | Comments Off on Science 360

Marine Life

This informational and visually appealing app would make a good addition to classrooms whose science standards cover marine life.  For each featured animal, students can read (or listen to) an introductory paragraph and learn about its geographical presence and diet.  An animated picture of each animal is also present on the screen.  Make a note that the information is presented in English and Chinese.

Featured animals:

  • * Green mandarin
  • * Ocean sunfish
  • * Hammerhead shark
  • * American lobster
  • * Jellyfish
  • * King crab
  • * Emperor penguin
  • * White butterfly fish
  • * Strawberry hermit crab
  • * Great white shark
  • * Horseshoe crab
  • * Sea turtle
  • * Flounder
  • * Ocellaris clownfish
  • * Octopus
  • * Sea hare
  • * Ocean sunfish
  • * Grimpoteuthis umbellata
  • * Porcupine fish
  • * Angler fish
  • * Dolphin
  • * Sail fish
  • * Sea horse
  • Leafy seadragons
  • Saw shark
  • Flying fish
  • Lion fish
  • Thornback cowfish
  • Ammonite
  • Ray
  • Orca
  • Antennarius Pictus

The animals without an asterisk (*) above can only be obtained via in-app purchases.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Learning Apps, Paid, Science | Comments Off on Marine Life

PBS Kids Video

This app brings your child’s or students’ favorite PBS Kids shows to your mobile device!  Hundreds of clips and full episodes are available for instant viewing.  New clips and episodes are added on a regular basis.  The app is very user-friendly (for both kids and adults).

Be sure to explore the features of the ‘Parents’ section towards the bottom left corner to:

  • See when the show comes on TV
  • Share the clip or episode via email, Facebook or Twitter
  • Read each show’s synopsis, recommended age range, educational goals, and sponsor(s)
  • Purchase the clip or episode
  • Link to additional PBS Kids apps

Perhaps the app functions better over a 3G connection.  But on wifi, the clips and episodes I watched frequently froze; sometimes the audio kept playing, but the screen went completely black.  I do appreciate the ability to pause the video.

Included shows:

  • The Cat in the Hat
  • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
  • Curious George
  • Super Why?
  • Dinosaur Train
  • The Electric Company
  • Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman
  • Fizzy’s Lunch Lab
  • Wild Kratts
  • Oh Noah!
  • Martha Speaks
  • Wilson & Ditch Digging America
  • Sesame Street
  • Word Girl
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Chuck Vanderchuck
  • Arthur
Posted in 1st - 2nd, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Math, PreK - Kindergarten, Science, Social Studies | Comments Off on PBS Kids Video

Britannica Kids: Rainforests

I’m quite impressed with the Britannica Kids series.  They’ve developed apps with the following titles: Ancient Egypt, Dinosaurs, Volcanoes, Solar System, Ancient Rome, Aztec Empire, Snakes, U. S. Presidents,  and Knights and Castles.

This is such an impressive science-based app!  It should definitely be on mobile devices housed in classrooms that cover the rainforest biome in science standards.  However, it would also make a great resource for all classrooms!  An abundance of information is presented in an attractive way.  It’s divided into the following sections.

Articles: Six thorough, lengthy articles that cover all aspects of the rainforest – from types to threats

Animals A – Z: An abundance of written information about 20+ rainforest animals

Brush Off: Students have to use a finger to ‘brush’ away leaves to reveal a creature of the rainforest

Jigsaw Puzzles: Arrange puzzle pieces to create a beautiful picture of a rainforest component

Magic Square Puzzles: Students have to ‘slide’ puzzle pieces in order to properly arrange a beautiful picture of a rainforest component

Map: Locate nearby rainforests

Pics and Videos: Explore captioned pictures and video segments

Memory Match: Classic memory-style game featuring various rainforest components

Quiz: Short, timed rainforest quiz

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Learning Apps, Paid, Science | Comments Off on Britannica Kids: Rainforests

iBird Pro

This app is a bird lover’s dream!  It’s rather expensive, but is comparable to purchasing a bird watcher’s print guide book for the classroom.  You can choose one of 4 ways to view the names of the featured birds – compact, icon, thumbnail, or gallery.  In each view, you can also search for a bird by a keyword, Latin name, or band code.  You can also select to view the names by family.  But the search option can be narrowed down even more by features such as song, body, or flight.  Simply put – this app goes above and beyond the call of duty to make the process of searching for a featured bird quite easy!  Students can also save their favorite birds and view included photos (and add their own).

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Paid, Science | Comments Off on iBird Pro

Butterfly HD

This is another interactive app from Sprout Labs (also check out my review of Plants HD).  It allows students to learn and explore the life cycle of a butterfly.

The opening screen shows the stages of the life cycle (egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly) in order and the word ‘play’ appears in the middle.  If students tap ‘play’, the four stages drop to the bottom of the screen.  They then have to place them back on the cycle in the correct order.  This step is not very challenging, since they just saw the correct order (if they were paying attention).  But I appreciate how the developers still included the activity.

Students can then choose a stage to further explore by tapping it.  Each section is quite aesthetically-pleasing!  Each section contains diagrams, close-up pictures and videos.  A wifi connection is needed, however, to enjoy the embedded videos.  You’ll also find an appropriate amount of descriptive text that thoroughly explains each step in the butterfly’s life cycle.  The text comes with a ‘Read to Me’ option that’s necessary for non and early-readers!  Each section also has its own Pop Quiz that is aligned to the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy!  The quiz gives the user instant feedback (and the chance to try again when an incorrect answer is selected).  A ‘Did you know?’ trivia facts run along the bottom screen of each section.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, iPad, Paid, Science | Comments Off on Butterfly HD