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Rock Solid Science Apps

by Peggy Reimers
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Magnets, balloons, batteries, beakers, and microscopes all belong in the science lab. The tablet generation has also brought us a new resource: apps. Here are six that are as necessary as safety goggles and an eye wash station.

Kids Discover Apps (iOS)

The Kids Discover magazine was a subscription I held for many years as an elementary teacher. The very informative and gorgeous photos were great for student research. But magazines are going by the way of the dinosaurs and apps are becoming a better resource. Fortunately, Kids Discover has changed with the time and converted their magazines into $2.99 apps. Each app has a wide variety of quizzes, puzzles, video, audio, and animations. Several science topics are available: cells, ecology, energy, extreme weather, and geology.

Elements 4D (Google Play and iOS)

This app goes beyond interactivity, but it takes a little preparation. First of all, you will need to visit the Daqri site and print six pages of the papercraft blocks, which then need to be cut out and glued together. You can use standard copy paper, but I like to use card stock for a sturdier block. After downloading the Elements 4D app, point your device at one of the elements and you will see the element name, image, and atomic weight. Even cooler, try moving two blocks together. If they go together, you get a chemical reaction. Bonus: The website has detailed elementary, middle, and high school lesson plans.      

WWF Together (Google Play and iOS)

Discover 16 amazing and endangered animals through photos, videos, and interactives in this World Wildlife Fund app. Do you know what a panda and a stick of butter have in common? Find the answer, and other unusual animal facts, in this beautifully-designed free app. Bonus: Discover multiple ways to get involved and protect these amazing animals.    

Frog Dissection (Google Play and iOS)

This $3.99 app has been around since the beginning of iPad time. Geared toward middle school students, it walks you through the process of dissecting a frog without the smell of formaldehyde. Bonus: The app also includes the frog lifecycle, wet lab process, videos, interactive activities, and more.

Global Shark Tracker (Google Play and iOS)

The OCEARCH app lets you follow the navigational pattern of sharks that have been tagged with satellite tracking technology. Be informed about shark conservation, biology data, shark health, and migration with this free app. Bonus; The tagged sharks have very cool names such as Big Kahuna, Einstein, Lonesome Jorgita, and of course, Sam Houston.  

Video Science (iOS)

The Science House Foundation houses more than 80 hands-on science lessons in this free app and provides great ideas for home or in the classroom. The short videos demonstrate inexpensive and easy-to-recreate experiments that will inspire kids of all ages.

Six apps cannot even begin to tackle all the science categories. But don’t worry, TCEA has you covered with the TCEA Recommended Apps List for iOS (also available for Android and Chrome). Just log in and tap on the Science tab. You will find a plethora of apps, divided by the various science topics:  energy, anatomy, weather, chemistry, life, environment, etc., all linked for easy download. If you’re not a TCEA member, you can still find other great apps for science in our Free Must-Have iPad Apps for Science list. And be sure to take a look at our iBook The iPad in Elementary: Science. This popular $2.99 book features 20 lesson plans aligned to the standards and includes recommended apps. It also offers printables to make the integration of the iPad into the science classroom even easier.

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