Friday, August 28, 2015

App Review: EarthViewer

EARTHVIEWER is a fascinating, interactive app from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that allows users to explore the science of Earth’s history.
Through timelines and visualizations, students can see the continents grow and shift as they scroll through billions of years of Earth’s history. Users can zoom into their favorite landmark and follow how it changes through time. Layers allow users to view data on atmospheric composition, temperature, biodiversity, day length, and solar luminosity.
Part of the HHMI’s BioInteractive initiative, the app opens with the option to take a short tutorial or jump right into the program. Users pinch out or in to switch between timeline views. The three main timeline views include phanerozoic (540 million years), deep history (4.6 billion years), and modern (100 years). Suggested areas to explore contain place markers such as cities, fossils, impact events, mass extinctions, biological events, and geological events. In-depth options include text and illustrations about topics such as the greenhouse effect and plate tectonics. The teacher resources area includes quick guides, references, and other information.
Librarians will find endless applications for this resource. Students can start with a modern city and track it back through time. Or, follow a famous fossil as it moves through time. Collaborate with the science teacher to build connections with the library’s science collection including books on prehistoric creatures, fossils, plate tectonics, and other curriculum-related topics.
The accompanying website also includes data files, classroom activities, worksheets, video clips, and a downloadable version.