Science Heroes: Digestive System for Kids

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
Science Heroes: Digestive System for Kids App Poster Image
Animations and games engage; learning approach needs boost.

A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids can learn key concepts about the human digestive system through a video filled with lots of information and engaging visuals. After kids complete a game level, they have to answer two quiz questions. This helps reinforce learning, and kids get instant feedback. But, depending on how long it takes kids to complete a level, a lot of time may pass between viewing the video and answering the questions. Gaming skills are a heavy focus with Science Heroes: Digestive System for Kids; it could work as a way to get kids interested in the digestive system, but it doesn't offer deep learning. 

Ease of play

The start-up images that kids have to tap are a bit confusing and do not include any narration or text. Once kids get to the the main page, navigation is easy. Game controls may be difficult for some users to master. 

Violence & scariness

There is mild cartoon violence. The primary goal of the missions is to break down food particles or destroy harmful substances. Kids spend a lot of time shooting at these objects.   

Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism

A link for parents on the home page takes users to a page that offers a free parent's guide if they enter an email address. 

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Science Heroes: Digestive System for Kids aims to teach young learners about the digestive system, offering options in English or Spanish. A video reviews key concepts and vocabulary, and it includes colorful animations that will engage kids. Leveled games challenge kids to protect different parts of the digestive system by completing missions such as chomping food particles and blasting harmful substances. However, the focus on learning gets somewhat lost. Brief quizzes are given between game levels, but kids are likely to spend more time trying to blast the enemy than learning about the digestive system. Users can try a free version of the app, which includes one game level. The full, paid version includes five levels. 

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What's it about?

On the main page of SCIENCE HEROES: DIGESTIVE SYSTEM FOR KIDS, users have three options: Tap the gear icon to control the sound and choose a language (English or Spanish), tap the Parents section to sign up for a learning guide and read the privacy policy, or tap the green arrow to start playing the game. Upon tapping the green arrow, first-time users are taken to an instructional video that lasts just over three minutes; an Internet connection is required to watch the video. Next, kids are given a series of missions, three per game level, that are broken down by body part: mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. Each mission begins with an explanation, and the general theme is to shoot at various objects such as food particles (to break them down) or harmful substances (to protect various body parts). Kids have to complete each mission set and answer two quiz questions to unlock the next level.

Is it any good?

Kids will enjoy the video and the challenging missions in Science Heroes: Digestive System for Kids. The colorful characters and animations are engaging, and the science content is presented at an age-appropriate level. Quizzes between game levels attempt to reinforce learning, but they are so staggered that kids may have a hard time recalling the information. On a positive note, feedback for incorrect answers is provided, so kids can learn from their mistakes.

Although the graphics are well done and the missions are fun and engaging, kids are probably not going to spend most of their time learning about the digestive system. Instead, they likely will focus on shooting at targets in hopes of advancing to the next level. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Search for diagrams of the digestive system and talk with kids about the processes that occur in each structure.

  •  

  • While watching the video, pause it as needed so kids can jot down key terminology. Then have them create an illustrated glossary. 

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Science: biology
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: memorization
  • Price: Free ($4.99 full version)
  • Pricing structure: Free to Try (To unlock the full game, you'll pay $4.99 via in-app purchase.)
  • Release date: November 12, 2013
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 50.00 MB
  • Publisher: Yogome
  • Version: 1.0.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later

For kids who love health and science

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