Weird But True

Common Sense Media says

Cool graphics jazz up fun facts; watch out for hidden costs.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The app is very intuitive; when it opens you're directed to simply swipe or shake to see a fact. The buttons on the pages are clear, and there are arrows to navigate to and from the menus. The menu also includes clear instructions for using the app. 

Violence & scariness

Mild references to violence are included in some facts, such as a single dart frog containing enough poison to kill up to 100 people and honeybees' ability to detect explosives.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The included pack comes with only 25 facts. Additional packs cost 99 cents each or $1.99 for the Mega Pack. The Mega Pack does not unlock all the content, so to get everything users would need to unlock Packs 1, 2, and 3, plus the Mega Pack. While the freemium model itself is not necessarily a problem, some users report feeling duped because the description in iTunes mentions 625 facts, but doesn't explain that to get all those facts you'll have to pay. And the app itself doesn't clearly explain that the Mega Pack is not just a combination of the other packs, as it would be in many other apps.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Kids can send weird facts and a link to the app by email (if email is enabled on the device) or via Facebook or Twitter.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Weird But True is a fun adaptation of the popular book by National Geographic. The free app comes with 25 facts, and you'll have to pay to get additional packs (ranging from 99 cents to $1.99; unlocking all the content will set you back $5). Each fact is presented as a page with fun fonts, sound effects, and occasional illustrations. On the fact page, kids can tag a fact as a favorite, rate how weird the fact is on the "weird-o-meter," tap to see and hear an animal float across the stage saying "that's weird," share the fact with a link to the app on email, or visit the menu. Kids can swipe from fact to fact, visit their favorites, or scroll through topics alphabetically. Kids can also see a list of the weirdest facts as rated by other users during the past week. A few facts mildly mention violence, such as ants that explode when they're attacked.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • measurement
  • motion
  • physics
  • substance properties
  • animals
  • astronomy
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • electricity
  • energy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • applying information

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

An excellent adaptation of the popular book series by National Geographic. Kids will love the fun sound effects and creative design of fonts and colors as well as the several ways to interact with facts.

Learning Approach

Kids favorite, share, and rate facts based on weirdness, all of which require them to pay attention when they read. A list of weirdest facts rated by other users inspires participation. Real-world activities can reinforce learning. 

Support

The app has extensions with more facts, but you have to pay.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • measurement
  • motion
  • physics
  • substance properties
  • animals
  • astronomy
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • electricity
  • energy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • applying information

Kids can learn all kinds of facts ranging from more science-oriented ones like "The human body contains enough iron to make a 2-inch nail," to just plain odd ones like, "99% of people can't lick their elbows." These are the kind of facts that make anyone go "hmmm…" and can become a good source of social learning and conversation. The extra features where kids can rate the facts and see what others are ranking as popular add on to the social value of the app. The variety of topics can also help stimulate interest in many different areas. With Weird But True, kids can learn fun facts and see if what they think is weird is the same as others.

This Learning Rating review was written by Cynthia Chiong

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

Kids swipe through screens with weird facts in this easy-to-use app. The facts are visually appealing, but are not read aloud and thus require good reading skills. With each fact, kids can mark it as a favorite, rate the weirdness factor, and share it via social media. Kids can also browse the facts by topic and by "top weird-o meter," a weekly ranking of the weirdest facts by other users.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

WEIRD BUT TRUE is a great adaptation of the popular book series by National Geographic. The app focuses on cultivating curiosity, which it does well. Kids will love the fun sound effects and creative design of fonts and colors on the pages, as well as the several different ways of interacting with the facts.

But there are some downsides. First, the developer is not entirely upfront about what you're getting when you install the app. The app's description in iTunes refers to "more than 600 kid-friendly facts," but does not clearly explain that to get all the facts you'd have to make four in-app purchases totaling $5. Second, the app does not contain sources for the facts or explanations of why or how they're true, which not only could help kids learn more about the facts, but also helps them learn to evaluate seemingly factual statements in our digital age. So, families may want to use this app to spark creativity and questions (and have fun!), then find time to talk about verifying facts with research -- and enjoy doing that research together.

Families can talk about...

  • Seek out experiences that might expand on or let kids see for themselves some of the facts such as visiting a science museum or zoo or even doing some experiments of your own!

  • Read along with your kids and relate some of the facts back to real-life experiences.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:January 26, 2013
Category:Books
Size:45.70 MB
Publisher:National Geographic Society
Version:2.0.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later

This review of Weird But True was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old July 20, 2013
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

To expensive

Hate it! You have to pay for everything! Don't get it huge ripoff. Only get the books

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