Thursday, August 11, 2016

App Review: Apprentice Architect

APPRENTICE ARCHITECT is an app the involves youth in exploring a work of architecture and creating their own designs.
Inspired by the designs of Frank Gehry, app users explore the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris and create their own designs.
In the My Sketchbook section, users choose a shape based on familiar objects, then add color, patterns, and backgrounds.
In the Look Around You section, students explore how a building is designed and how it works.
In the Where’s Frank section, users learn about architect Frank Gehry.
In the Does the Work? section, 360 degree photographs are used to help users explore the museum building.
The Take the Controls section, allows users to operate a crane and explore the glass panels of the building.
The My Studio section, provides tools for youth to create their own designs.
Librarians will find this app to be an engaging way to introduce architects and architecture. Add this app to a learning station that includes online resources and books about other famous architects and their works. Incorporate the LEGO Architecture set as a hands-on experience with designing a building.
To download the app, go to

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

App Review: Ace Academy

ACE ACADEMY apps explores the history and science of fragile wood and fabric biplanes through a series of engaging, interactive experiences.
Developed by the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the app begins with the basics of flight and proceeds to fascinating topics such as aerial photo-reconnaissance to airplane identification. Short animated videos narrated by a guide introduce each “flight training topic”. Users explore an aircraft, then complete a hands-on activity related to a key flight concept. Users proceed through nine sections learning about science and flight as they go. Users collect metals along the way to open up new levels. The program ends with a solo mission.
Librarians will find a large audience for this motivating learning experience. While some students will be attracted to the history, science, and flight information, others will simply enjoy the interactive flight aspects. Of particular note is the way that primary sources are woven into the experience. Weave this interactive app into an interdisciplinary project connecting history and science teachers.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Website Review: College Navigator

COLLEGE NAVIGATOR helps teens explore schools and prepare for life after high school.
Created by the Institute of Education Sciences, this U.S. government website takes young adults step-by-step through the process of finding a college. Search options include finding schools by name, state, distance from home, program, academic level, institution type, and more. An interactive map helps users see school locations. Students can create lists of favorite schools, do side-by-side comparisons, download results on a spreadsheet, and even save searches.
Each college entry contains general information (i.e., map, website link, offerings, demographics) along with costs, financial aid, enrollment, admissions, retention and graduation rates, programs, and other useful information.
In addition to the database of schools, the website contains links to many other online government resources. The College Affordability and Transparency Center helps teens compare the price of tuition and fees. Other resources include information about preparing for post-high school education, financial aid, and career exploration.
Librarians will find this easy-to-use website helpful in assisting students with locating college information. While many commercial websites are filled with sponsored ads and possible bias, this government website contains nicely presented factual information presented in alphabetical order. It’s easy for students to get overload with the information found at college websites. This tool makes it simple for students to locate and compare information.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Book Review: The Drake Equation

THE DRAKE EQUATION by Bart King is a humorous science fiction adventure.
While on a quest for an elusive bird, Noah instead finds a mysterious, glittery disk. This middle-school youth suddenly acquires strange powers that lead to funny adventures.
Librarians will find that young readers empathize with the young birdwatcher and his friends. While the science fiction aspects don’t really take off until the second half of the book, most children will enjoy the school and friendship aspects of the story.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 10, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, July 22, 2016


NASA WAVELENGTH provides a full spectrum of resources for science education.
Sponsored by NASA, this website provides access to a digital collection of Earth and space science resources for all grade levels. Specifically, they focus on helping students develop an understanding of our planet Earth, our Sun and solar system, and the universe.
The Science Data and Images section is divided into introductory, intermediate, and advanced resources. The page shares key online collections and descriptions of these resources.
The Strandmaps page links to interactive concept maps on specific science and math topics in the areas of the physical setting, the nature of science, the living environment, the designed world, habits of mind, the nature of technology, and common themes. Each map introduces related concepts, how the concepts are aligned to benchmarks and standards, and links to resources.
The blog provides news, updated information, and resources of interest to educators in a wide range of topics such as astronomy, astrophysics, citizen science, data, and others.
A search tool can be used to find resources by key word and audience. Materials can also be explored by grade level. Finally, links are provided to key multimedia resources including apps, videos, and images.
Librarians will find these resources to be popular with science teachers. Work with teachers to align the materials with the curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Book Review: A Beginner's Guide to Bear Spotting

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEAR SPOTTING by Michelle Robinson is an adorable picture book adventure.
Robinson’s quirky approach to storytelling is sure to entice young readers. An adorable child narrator carrying a field guide provides readers with useful and sometimes silly information about identifying and interacting with bears in the forest.
David Robert’s use of graph paper, appealing typography, and endearing characters make the book particularly appealing.
Librarians will find a large audience for this outdoor adventure. Pair the book with animal books and field guides for a fun display. The field-note theme has lots of possibilities for science projects and nature connections. Encourage children to write their own story about a favorite animal encounter incorporating both fact and fiction.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Bloomsbury on February 9, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Website Review: DK FindOut!

DK FINDOUT! is an educational site for children that explores topics across subject areas.
The website presents easy-to-understand and attractively presented information about a wide range of topics including animals and nature, computer coding, dinosaurs and prehistoric life, Earth, history, human body, language arts, math, music, art, and literature, science, space, sports, transportation, and more.
Each page includes an overview of the topic along with videos and quizzes. A subject such as animals is divided into sub-topics such as The Animal Kingdom, Food chains, Cats, Dogs, and Amphibians. Once inside a sub-topic, users can explore key ideas through short articles, videos, interactives, and more. The website is loaded with practical information and relevant examples.
Parent and teacher sections provide a wealth of resources including quizzes, videos, and article to help children learn.
An easy-to-use search tool assists youth in locating information on topics of interest.
Librarians will find this to be a popular tool with both teachers and students. Consider aligning the key content with informational reading activities throughout the curriculum. Fans of DK books will immediately recognize the format and appealing visuals that have become the hallmark of DK publications.
To visit the website, go to