A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that DIY Sun Science is an interactive reference tool that teaches kids about the sun. It contains hands-on activities, gorgeous images and videos, and a live sun cam. Each of the activities includes a summary, a materials list, step-by-step instructions, and a follow-up explanation. Most activities will likely require adult assistance and supervision. Kids will enjoy the videos and animations, and checking out the live images of the sun in the observatory will inspire astronomers of all ages.
What's it about?
DIY SUN SCIENCE is a free, NASA-funded reference tool that is packed with information about the sun. Kids can tap to explore three different areas within the app: Activities, Images and Videos, or the Sun Observatory. There are more than a dozen hands-on activities, and each one is organized into sections that make it easy to plan and conduct the activity. The summary section gives an overview of the activity's objective, age-level appropriateness, and a breakdown of the time required for preparation, activity completion, and cleanup. The materials section includes a bulleted materials list and any applicable safety precautions. The instructions section includes step-by-step instructions, along with pictures. And the explanation section explains the science behind the activity, includes links to related videos from the app, and occasionally offers an extension activity. The images and videos page includes an image gallery and several videos that teach kids more detailed information about the sun. The sun observatory shows live images of the sun from a NASA satellite. Kids can move a slider to compare images, and then tap the learn button to read more about the sun. There is also a puzzle button that challenges kids to match images of the sun with the correct term.
Is it any good?
DIY Sun Science is a great way to spark interest in astronomy and inspire learning. The activities are fun and engaging, and they tie in nicely with important astronomy concepts. Completing them takes a bit of effort outside of the app, but the activities are very well organized and require materials that can typically be found around the house. Many of the images and videos are stunning, and most of them relate in some way to the hands-on activities. Kids will likely find the sun observatory an exciting feature as they view real, live images of the sun from a NASA satellite. It would be nice if there were some quizzes or activities that kids could complete to apply what they learned. Still, this free reference tool is an excellent addition to any virtual science library.
Talk to your kids about ...
Choose an activity each week and help kids gather the materials and complete the steps. Discuss the information on the explanation page following each activity.
Use the sun observatory each day for at least two weeks. Discuss any changes in the images.
If possible, visit a local science museum or planetarium and talk about how using the app helped prepare for the visit.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Science: astronomy
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, collecting data, investigation, memorization
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: March 20, 2014
- Category: Education
- Topics: Science and nature
- Size: 109.00 MB
- Publisher: The Lawrence Hall of Science
- Version: 1.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later
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For kids who love science
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.