Arloon Plants

App review by
Emily Pohlonski, Common Sense Media
Arloon Plants App Poster Image
Cool interactivity and images but some confusing science.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about plant reproduction, classification, adaptations, and energy.  Exploration of adaptations is linked to four ecosystems and the traits that are helpful in each one. Plant Process animations are intended to help kids learn processes such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Because the terminology is relatively advanced and there's a lot of text, kids should have some background so the information makes sense. Also, there is some information that might reinforce misconceptions kids already have (plants eat dirt). Though not the strongest in the suite of Arloon apps, Arloon Plants does have a lot of information on offer, but it's not the most accessible and engaging choice for your budding botanist.

Ease of Play

Directions are clear, and the app is very easy to use.

Violence
Sex

Sexual and asexual reproduction of plants covered.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Arloon Plants lets kids zoom in, rotate, and get more information about plant ecosystems, processes, and classification. A kid may want to use the camera on her device to make it look like an ecosystem is sitting on her hand and save pictures of the augmented-reality images. It'll be helpful for kids to already have some context of the concepts covered, as some of the terminology can get pretty complex. The text in the app is available in English or Spanish.

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What's it about?

ARLOON PLANTS has six categories on the home screen: Structure, Processes, Ecosystems, Garden, Take care of your plant, and Exercises. Kids choose a category and see labeled pictures, short animations, and augmented-reality images about everything from leaf structure to asexual reproduction. Within the four ecosystems (Taiga, Dessert [sic], Mediterranean Forest, and Steppe), kids learn about how plants adapt to the different environments. As in many of Arloon's other apps, users can print special cards or use a graphic to use the augmented-reality feature, which shows images in 3-D.

Is it any good?

Though the interactive elements and concepts are strong, the language used may lead to misconceptions. For example, kids drag water and mineral salts toward the roots and push xylem sap through the channels to reach the leaves. This may reinforce the misconception that plants eat dirt from their roots. Text in the app further adds to this confusion, stating, "Photosynthesis consists of transforming the raw (xylem) sap into phloem or refined sap, that the plant uses as food." Not only might this be conceptually confusing, but it's also advanced enough that kids will definitely need some background before jumping in; it's probably not a tool they'd use casually for fun. Clarifying a few key points and correcting a couple of key typos -- "dessert" instead of "desert" and "oxigen" instead of "oxygen" -- would make this app a stronger contender as a resource.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why plants matter. What do plants give us? How are humans affected if we remove lots of plants?

  • For families who want to learn more about human impact, check out our Green Games for Kids.

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App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love plants and the outdoors

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