Image With iPod Touches and iPads increasingly available in the schools, it’s lots of fun to explore kid-friendly apps to find the ones students will enjoy.  And that I myself enjoy, if truth be told.

One of my favorite science apps is Creatures of Light, a free app from the American Museum of Natural History. App users can explore the biology of bioluminescent creatures of land and sea, in a well-designed app that features photos, interactive maps and diagrams, and embedded videos. I even like the background music.

Another nice little app is Painting with Time, $.99 from Red Hill Studios. Children can use a palette of art tools to “paint” changes over time. For example, a child might choose a black and white photo of a forest. Using the painting tools, she can paint one slice of the picture with “spring,” another with “summer” and so on, until she has a layered painting showing aspects of all seasons. Other choices include how a city changes in the course of a day, how a woman’s face changes with age, or the changes in a mountain scene as a glacier retreats. It’s deceptively simple, but the app has a lot to offer. They have another app that explores climate change in a similar fashion.

There are a host of apps now that let the user identify common species of plants, birds, rocks, insects, and many other features of our world. The free iPhone /app WildLab Bird, part of a “citizen science” project, helps users identify birds and record their sightings. Each users’ sightings become part of the data that supports research at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  There are lots of teacher resources at the WildLab website, too.


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