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How Does the Human Body Work?

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
How Does the Human Body Work? App Poster Image
Solid body systems info needs more support to digest.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about eight human body systems. Each system includes brief overview of what it does, plus labeled body parts, organs. Kids also see demonstrations of some body processes, such as food moving through digestive system. When kids play with a grown-up who can provide explanations, they'll learn a lot more.

Ease of Play

Tapping is easy, but figuring out what to do in the app is not.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language

Pooping and farting in the close-up of the digestive system.

Consumerism

A small icon on the main screen takes kids to ads for other apps from the same developer. There's a parent gate to pass through before getting to the iTunes purchase page.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that How Does the Human Body Work? demonstrates a variety of body systems through images, animations, and text. Kids explore nine different systems, such as respiratory, skeletal, or digestive, each with diagrams, labeled parts, and some kind of interactive activity. There's not much explanation for what kids need to do, and the little explanatory text there is doesn't have a read-aloud option. Either kids need to be strong readers and patient enough to explore, or they'll need significant help from a grown-up. Sometimes load times between screens can be slow, which may frustrate or confuse kids. Parents can choose from 13 languages in the settings menu. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Tap play to enter the body factory in HOW DOES THE HUMAN BODY WORK? Choose from five bodies (four different kids and one pregnant woman) to examine, and tap play again. Pick one of the eight icons representing the skin and the digestive, respiratory, nervous, circulatory, urogenital, skeletal, and muscular systems. Each system shows diagrams and labels of the major system parts, and kids can zoom in to some areas in closer detail. Interactive activities include feeding the body to see how the digestive system processes food, or watching the heart beat faster as the body runs. If kids choose the pregnant woman, they can adjust the months of gestation. Tap the system name to read about it, and tap the puzzle icon to drop the labels and place them correctly.

Is it any good?

Though there are some nice diagrams and animations of the human body's systems, the overall organization of this app doesn't have enough scaffolding to allow for meaningful learning. There are plenty of positives in terms of the art, animations, and quality of information. And free play and exploration are wonderful ways to let kids take the lead in their own learning; there are other, similar apps that take this approach successfully. But How Does the Human Body Work? can be a bit confusing, in regards both to app navigation and to how the information is presented, perhaps because it's trying to do too much. With no help or explanation about the many different icons and buttons -- some of which do things, some of which don't -- it can be tricky to know what to do next. Also, the text-heavy overview of what each system does is sometimes written in language that isn't always kid-friendly. Some demonstrations, like the heart beating faster as the body runs, are straightforward enough to stand on their own. However, many others aren't. It would be nice to see some level of support or explanation so that kids can understand what they're watching when, for example, the signal from a mosquito bite travels through the nervous system. How Does the Human Body Work? works best as a tool for kids to use together with a grown-up who can provide all the missing context and explanation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the body systems in How Does the Human Body Work? Watch and play with your kids and fill in the gaps to explain what they see.

  • Help kids make real-life connections between the models they see on-screen and their own bodies. For example, do some of the activities represented in the app and observe how it makes your body feel, such as running in place for a couple minutes and taking your pulse before, during, and after. 

  • Read books and watch documentaries to learn more about how the human body works.

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love biology and health

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