-Recently a teacher asked me on twitter if I can recommend any Science apps. I promised to do some research and share my findings with her.
This is a re-blogged article, and the original can be found by clicking here.
These are some of the coolest, free, iPad apps amongst the several ones I tried.
Star Chart by ESCAPE VELOCITY LIMITED
This is an amazingly beautiful app for anyone teaching or learning Astronomy.
From identifying individual stars and planets to highlighting constellations, this app does it all. The fun part is that it uses your device sensors so as you move your iPad, the sky in the app moves along giving a feel that you’re looking into a window in real-time.
The app also allows zooming in and out by using pinch gestures.
You can also search for specific planetary bodies and learn more about it. Most bodies also have animations; for example, if you select Venus, you can see how Venus rotates around the sun and how it would standing from Earth.
Star Chart has no sound altogether – this is apt since when you’re in space you can’t really hear anything, being surrounded by Vacuum – however it just feels like the experience could be even more intense with some kind of background music suited for space themes.
The app is free to download, but has several in-app purchases for unlocking additional content. The purchases look expensive compared to other apps, but they’re probably much cheaper than buying a corresponding astronomy book, apart from being a lot more interactive and fun.
Science 360 for iPad by National Science Foundation
This app, backed by National Science Foundation, is a free exploratory learning app featuring hundreds of high quality images and videos related to research in Science and Technology. The home interface is a brilliant 360 view of all this content tiled together, so you that you can click on what you want to explore and learn more about.
The images are accompanied by instructional excerpts about the image.
Videos especially are very engaging and cover topics from Grid imaging to Early child development.
Since the app is backed by NSF with the purpose of increasing science awareness, it is available absolutely free. Accoding to the publisher –
Content is either produced by NSF or gathered from scientists, colleges and universities, and NSF science and engineering centers.
Note that you need a live internet connection with this app – the images and videos are downloaded as you request them, so without internet, this app will not function.
Build a Body by SpongeLab Interactive
What better way to learn about the parts of the human body than by putting them together.
This is what the first review on the app store page says, and it is absolutely accurate.
This app is a lot simpler than the other apps in this list in terms of content, but at free, you cannot complain! The game is simple – you have to build various systems of the human body (the Circulatory System, the Respiratory System, the Skeletal system, etc) by putting together parts in the right places.
While this is an excellent test in itself, there are small snippets of information about each of the parts that guide you if you don’t know where it goes.
Now we’d have loved if it would go into more detail and show each part individually enlarged, we aren’t complaining. The human-parts jigsaw puzzle is definitely a great way for kids to understand the general anatomy and learn what goes where.
BrainPOP Featured Movie by BrainPop
Brain Pop is not specifically a Science App, but it surely deserves mention here. The app has several video animations on various topics, ranging from Genetics to Space in Science alone (along with 6 other subjects).
After the video, you can take a short quiz to test your understanding of the topic covered.
Videos are a combination of basic animation and narration – however the scripts are well written and keep you hooked to the subject matter. The goal seems to be to introduce basic concepts quickly so that you can do independent research later on if you are interested.
A few videos are free, along with a featured video of the day – rest of the videos are locked and require a paid subscription that costs between $1.99 a month (for 4 videos a day) to $6.99 a month (for unlimited access).
One challenge with the app is that there is no age-restriction for these videos. Says one reviewer –
My 7 yr old had BrainPop Jr. for a couple years and loved it. As he outgrew it, we decided to upgraded him to BrainPop last year. We feel some of the content is WAY too much for his age! After watching the video on dying (my fault I didnt see him open it) he is now terrified he will stop breathing and die. In addition, the “featured video” right now is on ADDICTION…again, a bit much for his age.
As such, we do recommend that you keep an eye on what content your child is consuming, if you decide to buy them a subscription. Apart from this one thing to keep in mind, the app is amazing to have.