by Sprout Labs
As we near our 180th review, Applicable2U is excited to share our next educational app as it is both teacher and student centered. To date, many of our reviews can be categorized as interactive books, math, spelling, language arts, and reading. We are excited to say that today, we are reviewing a science application for those budding botanists. As our third grade curriculum states, inquiry and investigations are embedded in all domains. With the help of your mobile device, developers from Sprout Labs have designed Plants HD for your iPad running iOS 4.3 or later. Through their exploration, students will get their hands dirty as they develop their Life Science repertoire while identifying the function of plant parts and observing and describing the life cycle of a plant. Plants HD provides students in a classroom and home school environment the opportunity to learn through hearing and seeing. In addition, students will put that knowledge to work in a multiple choice quiz. Come learn as an individual or in a group, regardless, it’s applicable to you!
Game play immediately begins as you enter this educational, scientific app. Life Science revolves around a pattern or cycle of life. What does the life cycle of a plant look like? Become familiar with key vocabulary such as; seeds, dispersal, germination, plants/trees, flowers, pollination and fruit. Scan your eyes around the interactive graphic cycle and put your memory to the test by clicking “play”. Your goal is to drag and drop each scientific term to its correct place in the cycle. Through verbal reinforcements, students will be cheered for correct answers or told to try again if incorrect. Every time the play button is struck, graphic pieces will be placed in a new spot. So now your child(ren) or student(s) know the order of the plant life cycle, but what does it all mean?
As an educator, begin your plant unit with the integration of Plant HD. Connect your iPad device to a large screen or projector and zoom in on the highly interactive content. Get an in-depth look at each part of the plant life cycle. Shuffle through a photo deck of cards as you make connections to the professionally narrated and underlined scientific text that can be paused for further conversations and reflection. Content is not overwhelming in its presentation as information is shared in a scrolling text box. This allows users to hone in on smaller sections of information. Through our exploration, we noticed when more challenging vocabulary was presented, a simpler explanation or definition was connected to it. For example, if the word “emerge” was not apart of your child’s vocabulary, it is then explained immediately afterwards with the word “show”. This is a nice feature for those emerging readers. Knowledge is extended one step further, as developers have included a “Did You Know” section which is made up of a scrolling WOW facts cloud and can be found in each part of the plant life cycle. A few notes to the developers – as students make reflections and share, it would be would great if they had access to a highlighting feature. This highlighting feature would allow students to highlight details which answer questions asked by their parent or educator. Such highlighted items could then be saved to a scientific journal which could be viewed like a study guide. We also wonder if the “Did You Know” facts could be read aloud as well for those needing it. If working independently, some words may appear more challenging to read or comprehend.
As cycles are understood, then it is time to check your understanding of content while having fun!
Read each question and their choices independently or with the support of an adult. Carefully review each choice, if necessary return back to the informational page in order to find its answer in the text. Quizzes are broken down into three levels: easy, intermediate and advanced, however, initially only the easy level is accessible. To unlock the intermediate and advanced questions, users must successfully answer questions as they collect coins.
Our third graders observe the life cycle of a Wisconsin Fast Growing Plant while journaling observations and graphing its growth spurts over several weeks. Students are given a hands on experience by taking their seeds and planting them in a small container of soil and watching it grow by the powers of sunlight and illuminated lamps. Students will measure their plants height and make observations of the scientific changes. This hands on experiment is wonderful, but are they truly grasping the plant’s life cycle. Can they be like scientists and apply or describe terms? Can they prove themselves as plant experts?
For those classrooms or homes equipped with an iPad devices(s), children can become life science experts while exploring and implementing Plants HD. An educational app that is very user friendly, differentiated in its presentation, is highly motivating and fun! For only $1.99, your life science unit just got an upgrade into the digital world. To learn more about Sprout Labs, please visit their website here. It is time to step out of the old and into the new as you add Plants HD to your iPad device today by simply clicking here.