Science360 for iPad
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Science 360 is a free, high-quality science and engineering news and information app published by the National Science Foundation. The scores of videos here -- including scientists interacting with jellyfish or mathematicians studying how snakes move to help create new mechanical engineering programs -- will appeal to science- and nature-loving kids. Others features, like text-only segments about motorized nanocars or computer charged density of FeO, may be too esoteric for most younger kids or teens who aren't science minded. Users can share what they find here via Facebook, Twitter, and email.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- asking questions
- thinking critically
Engagement, Approach, Support
Science-minded kids will soak in the beautiful images and videos plus lots of compelling new information. The overwhelming main page with very little direction may be too much visual stimulation to choose from for some kids.
Kids learn by viewing a large group of updated thumbnail images related to science videos and text, choosing the ones that interest them or are relevant to their current studies, and then sharing them socially.
The icon-based tutorial could use more info. There's not much direction or ability to search for specific titles. Related titles appear when kids dig into one that catches their eye from the main page. Users can star favorites.
Is it any good?
Downloading SCIENCE 360 is like introducing your kids to the brightest minds and the most interesting work currently being done in a variety of science, math, and engineering fields around the world. Younger kids may only want to watch the videos, as the text in many of the segments contains higher-level vocabulary. But there is something here to learn for anyone of almost any age. The fact that this app will hold your kid's attention (or yours) for hours on end is not surprising. What is incredible is that it's free.
Families can talk about...
Watch videos or read stories on this site with your kid and note the diversity of the scientists, conveying that anyone can be a scientist.
Talk about ways science impacts daily life. For example, one segment talks about how science can help you track your energy usage via smartphone. How could you use this kind of data in your home?