Thursday, October 17, 2013

7 Free iPad Apps for Science Lessons

Cross-posted from my other blog iPadApps4School.com

I'm preparing to do a virtual presentation for a small district next month. My hosts asked for a list of some science apps that their middle school and high school students can use. This is part of the list that has free apps.

The Bill Nye The Science Guy  iPad app is a free iPad app on which students can watch Bill Nye videos, play games, and discover kitchen table science experiments to do at home with their parents. The app is beautifully designed. Students enter the app by “scanning” their thumbprints. After entering the app students select an object on Bill Nye’s desk. Each object launches a new element of the app. My only complaint about the app is that in the video section it looks like you have to buy the videos (it’s an option) even though you can watch them for free.

goREACT is a free iPad app from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. This free iPad app allows students to virtually create chemical reactions. To create the reactions students simply drag elements from the periodic table to the “reaction area.” The app includes suggested reactions to help students get started. In all there are nearly 300 chemical reactions supported on the app. The app includes pictures and videos related to the reactions that students can virtually create on goREACT.

Powers of Minus Ten: Bone is a neat iPad app for biology students. The app takes students through ten levels of viewing the inside of human bones. Students can zoom through and explore each of the microscopic levels. The imagery starts at the level of viewing bones from the outside and ends with viewing the atoms within the bones. A neat aspect of the app is that students can select “healthy bone” or “broken bone.” By selecting “broken bone” students can view a broken bone and see how it heals.

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Virtual Heart is a free iPad app that allows users to take a closer look at how the human heart functions. The free app lets users speed up and slow down the virtual heart rate. Users have four views of the heart in the app. The views are of the electrical system, the valves, blood flow, and the interior of the heart. Each view can be experienced with or without labels. The first time each view is tapped, a short introduction to that view is displayed.

3D Brain is a free iPad app that features a model of the human brain. he app provides a three dimensional model of the human brain that students can rotate. To look at a specific part of the brain select it from the drop-down menu and it will be highlighted on the model for you to view. Click the “info” tab to read one page summaries about each part of the brain. On the app you can also find some case studies about disorders and brain damage.

Essential Skeleton is a free iPad app that students studying the human skeletal system should download. The app puts a 3D skeleton on your students’ iPads. Students can zoom-in, zoom-out, and rotate the skeleton 360 degrees. When students zoom-in and tap on a bone they will see its name in English and Latin, have the option to hear an audio pronunciation of the bone’s name, learn about the connected bones, and write their own notes about the highlighted bone.

Solve the Outbreak is a free iPad app produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The app is a game that contains three epidemics for students to research. In each investigation students have to read the background, read clues, analyze data, and answer questions. The questions put students in the role of a medical professional tasked with helping to curtail the spread of the epidemic. Points are awarded to students for correct answers.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Try Word Hippo for Definitions, Antonyms, Translations, and More

Word Hippo is a nice little tool that students can use to find definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and translations for words. The service also provides students with verb conjugation assistance, pronunciation assistance, and assistance with prefixes and suffixes. In total Word Hippo offers more than a dozen tools for students.

Applications for Education
Word Hippo could be a good aid to ELL students. Some of Word Hippo's features could be useful for all students. For example, the synonym finder could be useful to a student that finds himself using the same adjective over and over throughout a paper. 

390 Free Online Art History Books

Earlier this year I discovered that the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts free online art history texts. Today, I revisited that collection and discovered that it has expanded to 390 volumes. All of the books can be read online or downloaded as PDFs (warning, some of them are massive files). You can search through the catalog of books by thematic category, format, and publication type. And, of course, you can search through the books by title, author, and keyword.

Applications for Education
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of art history books could be a great resource for art teachers and their students. Students who are researching artists and or art movements could consult the collection to find reference materials.

Create, Organize, and Share Lessons In Alchemy SmartBinder

Alchemy SmartBinder is a free service for creating, organizing, and sharing lessons. With an Alchemy SmartBinder account teachers can create lessons that include text, images, videos, audio files, and web links. Each lesson can be aligned to Common Standards and or any other standards system that you use. Each lesson can be shared with students. All lessons are organized in courses in your Alchemy SmartBinder. Watch the short video below for an overview of Alchemy SmartBinder's features.


Applications for Education
I created a sample course and lesson in Alchemy SmartBinder just to see if it is as easy to use as it appears to be. It took me just a minute or two to create my course and my first lesson. Alchemy SmartBinder could be a good tool for organizing your lesson plans and sharing the lessons online with your students, their parents, and other teachers.

Explore 5,400 New Artifacts In the Google Cultural Institute

The Google Cultural Institute is one of my favorite sites for students in history, geography, and art courses. The online exhibitions in the Google Cultural Institute feature images, videos, audio, and text about significant historical and cultural people, places, and events. Some of the exhibitions like the Eiffel Tower Exhibition incorporate the use of Google Maps Street View imagery too.

Last week Google announced the addition of 5,400 new artifacts to the Cultural Institute. There is a strong emphasis on art and fashion in the new content added to the Cultural Institute. Some of the new content includes quilts from the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, kimonos from Japan, children's art from Norway, and interior tours of art museums in China.

Applications for Education
The Google Cultural Institute is a great site to have students explore to view artwork, find answers to questions, and have new questions and curiosities sparked in their minds.