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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Play and Learn Science - An App for Students and Their Parents

Play and Learn Science is a free app (Android and iOS versions available) designed for kids to learn science concepts. Not only that, the app is designed to help parents help their kids learn science concepts.

Play and Learn Science has four sections for kids. Each of those sections contains three activities related to science topics in Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. Most of the activities revolve around the theme of weather. Through these activities kids can learn about why it rains or snows, learn how to read a thermometer, and how to dress for various weather conditions. One other topic in the app deals with the concepts of gravity, velocity, and frictions. Students can complete all of the activities in the app with little to no guidance from adults.

The parents section of Play and Learn Science gives parents access to see what their kids have done in the app. When parents view what their kids have done in the app, they also see some suggested follow-up questions to ask their kids. Parents will also see suggestions for activities that they can do with their kids to reinforce the concepts taught in the Play and Learn Science app.

How Snow Is Made Naturally and by Humans

Every skier knows that natural snow is better than man-made snow. But there will be plenty of both at the Winter Olympics. So what is the difference? And how is snow made? Those questions are answered in the following videos.

How to Make Snow (If You're Not Elsa) is a short video produced by SciShow that explains how snow is made at ski resorts by using cooled water and compressed air.


Reactions, a YouTube channel that produces lots of science videos, has a short video that explains how snowflakes are naturally created.


The National Science Foundation has a neat video that explains how high speed cameras capture images of snowflakes forming. The video then goes on to explain why some snow is light and fluffy while other snow feels wet and heavy. (Jump to the 4:25 mark to get to the section about the formation of snowflakes).

10 More Videos About the Science of the Winter Olympics

On Tuesday I shared a playlist of 16 videos about the science of the Winter Olympics. Those videos were created by the National Science Foundation to coincide with the 2010 Winter Olympics. In 2014 the NSF released another batch of videos about the science of the Winter Olympics.

Some of the things that viewers can learn about in these ten videos include how snow half-pipes are made for snowboarding events, the role of vibration dampening in alpine skiing, and the physics of figure skating.


There is an inquiry guide and question list available for each of the videos in this playlist. The guides are available to download as PDFs. You'll find the guides linked below each video on its respective landing page.

Making North America - Interactive Map Quiz

Making North America is a NOVA production that chronicles the geological formation of North America. You can watch the series online to learn about the natural forces that shaped the landscape of North America. As a complementary resource for classrooms, NOVA offers an interactive map that features unique geological features of North America.

Making North America's interactive map is offered in two versions. The "explore" version has placemarkers that include pictures, videos, and text descriptions of the featured sites. The "expedition" version contains three short quizzes called "treks" in which students apply the knowledge they gained in "explore."

Applications for Education
The Making North America interactive map could be a good supplement to a geology lesson. The detail that is found in some of the images and videos within the map is greater than what you'll find in any middle school textbook. If you're short on time, you could have students jump straight to the "expedition" section of the map to test the knowledge of geology that they gained through lessons that you taught.