A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
SCIENCE JOURNAL BY GOOGLE is a tool for gathering data using a cell phone, tablet, or Chromebook. Kids start an "experiment" and fill it with virtual cards containing different types of information. They can have an observation, which is an open-ended text-based card, and can take pictures with the device and add those. But the most fun comes from collecting data using the built-in device sensors, including a barometer, a light sensor, an accelerometer (X, Y, Z, or linear), a magnetometer, a compass, and a sound sensor. The sensors available will vary based on what's present in the device. The readings for each sensor can be recorded over time and even trigger certain actions. Triggers might be set to alert the user, start recording, or add a note, allowing kids to set their device to capture data. There's also a fun option to attach sound properties to a sensor, so kids get an audio indication of sensor changes and can even create their own music using direction, light, acceleration, and so on.
Is it any good?
This clever app unlocks some hidden powers in our personal devices and gives kids an easy-to-use tool for their STEM explorations. Science Journal by Google is a great option for educators, including homeschoolers, who may not have the budget for expensive environmental sensors. It's also fun for family and solo experimentation. Google has some sample experiments on their site, and a quick search turned up some additional ideas for creative uses for the sensors. These are perfect for inspiring kids who don't quite know where to start on their own. It's relatively easy to use, but there are some things you'll need to dig to find, like the ability to share sensor recordings. It would be nice to be able to export an entire experiment to Google Docs for final editing and sharing. Overall, this freebie holds a lot of bang for the non-existent buck and is certainly a must-have for kids who have any interest in science and technology.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how science is used in our daily lives. What things can you measure with Science Journal by Google? How could you use that information in useful ways?
Do you think this is a good app for learning? Why, or why not? What can you learn?
Talk about investigation and the scientific process. What are the most important questions to ask? How do you make sure your results are valid?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Chromebook
- Subjects: Science: measurement, motion, physics, weather
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, collecting data
Creativity: combining knowledge
Tech Skills: using and applying technology
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: November 5, 2017
- Category: Education
- Topics: STEM, Science and Nature
- Size: 78.00 MB
- Publisher: Google Inc
- Version: 3.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 10.0 or later
- Last updated: April 26, 2019
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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.