Tuesday, January 20, 2015

App Review: Atoms

ATOMS by Kids Discover is a content-rich science app useful for upper elementary through middle school.
This easy-to-use app is divided into 11 sections. The first eight sections use text, photographs, diagrams, line drawings, videos, 3D models, and animation to present information about the parts of an atom, major discoveries, elements, the periodic table, fission, nuclear energy, and lasers. While some of the pages are static, others contain interactive elements such as pop-up windows and interactive diagrams.
Youth will be most interested in the activities section. The most interesting interactive involves building molecules by dragging oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon atoms around the screen.
The quiz provides a nice review of the key concepts informing students of the correct and incorrect answers. Additional resources are also provided.
The variety of visual elements will keep readers interested. However it’s likely that some students will simply flip through the pages rather than read them. Requiring users to interact with the screen to move from page to page would increase student involvement.
Although some sound effects are included in the app, the learning experience could be enhanced with a more effective use of sound. For instance, a read-aloud option would make this app more appealing to reluctant readers.
While the app does a nice job providing an overview to the key concepts, additional depth would be useful on some pages. For instance, clicking the element Fe on the Periodic Table provides detailed information about iron. However, a pop-up for each element would increase the value of the app.
Overall, ATOMS would be an excellent addition to your library’s science app collection. It contains explanations of key concepts along with providing visually interesting demonstrations and examples.
The app is available for purchase through the iTunes store athttps://itunes.apple.com/…/atoms-by-kids-discov…/id907120915.
A free teacher’s guide and vocabulary sheet are available for free at the Kids Discover website at http://www.kidsdiscover.com/shop/issues/atoms-for-kids/.