Journeys of Invention: Science and Technology from Past to Present

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
Journeys of Invention: Science and Technology from Past to Present App Poster Image
Text-heavy reference tool highlights major discoveries.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about major inventions and scientists. Inventions include the Edison light bulb, Galvani's battery, Hooke's microscope, the Apollo 10 module, and much more. Each discovery or invention includes an interactive object and a brief history about the object, and some include additional graphics that kids can explore. The information in Journeys of Invention: Science and Technology from Past to Present is both comprehensive and fascinating; however, kids will need to be motivated enough to read a lot and might be disappointed that they can't test their knowledge through gameplay or informal assessment.

Ease of Play

Navigation intuitive but a little tricky: When kids choose a journey, they work to stay on the journey's path, so a main timeline showing all of the objects and inventions would be useful.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Journeys of Invention: Science and Technology from Past to Present is a comprehensive resource that teaches kids about some of the major developments in science. Kids can explore on their own or follow one of the preset journeys. There are more than 80 interactive objects to discover, and each object includes at least one interactive image and a description. There's a lot of reading involved and no actual gameplay, so the app likely will appeal most to kids who already have an interest in learning about science history. Considering the price tag, you can have your kid watch the demo video to see how much it appeals.

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What's it about?

JOURNEYS OF INVENTION: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FROM PAST TO PRESENT empowers kids to explore over 80 objects at their own pace, or they can select from one of 14 journeys on the home page. For example, kids can choose Journey 7, Minds and Machines, to explore scientists, objects, and discoveries, beginning with Charles Babbage's brain and ending with a 3-D visualization of the Internet. This journey focuses on the story of how the best minds have contributed to making more intelligent machines. All journeys are interconnected, so kids can stray from their selected journeys.

Is it any good?

Journeys of Invention: Science and Technology From Past to Present provides a rich history of major scientific milestones with interactive, museum-like objects. The information is fascinating, and the graphics are engaging. It's nice that kids have the choice to either explore on their own or follow a themed journey, but since journeys are interconnected, it can be tricky to navigate. Kids may find themselves straying easily from a journey, losing a sense of the time line. There's a lot of text, so an audio option could help. And given the steep price tag, it would be great to see an opportunity for kids to apply what they've learned.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of different inventions and the impact they've had on society. For example, discuss how Hooke's invention of the microscope led to an understanding of cells and living things.

  • Have kids choose a journey and create a time line to show a streamlined version of what they learn. Encourage them to do some research on particular scientists or inventions.

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For kids who love science and invention

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