STOP Brain Drain with STEM Apps
Apps are a great way to get your visual learners engaged in subjects that can be a little challenging at school. Math and Science is all about concepts and theories that can be really wordy and difficult for right- brain thinkers to grasp. These visual manifestations of the same concepts are much easier to translate for their brains. It only takes a few minutes a day to keep those parts of their brains working to avoid learning loss over the summer.
Many of these apps are designed to help them think creatively and innovate, skills in which they excel. I promised you a list of my favorite math and science apps earlier in the week. So, here they are. I tried to find something for everyone from pre-k through 6th grade.
Motion Math (preK+) turns screen time into learning time with these delightful, effective math games. There are 12 different games from this company from number sense games for children ages 3-6 to games about economics, mental math and proportions for kids ages 8+. With so many different options, you will definitely find something that your kids will love.
Threes! (6+) is a math-based puzzle game that borrows elements from both Sudoku and Bejeweled. It encourages not only math skills but also strategic planning to maximize your playtime before you run out of possible moves. It’s an easy-to-learn, tough-to-master game that kids and parents both will love, but parents should be aware that the app includes links to social media and the app store.
Montessori Math: Multiplication (7+) is a learning tool that helps kids gain a conceptual understanding of multiplication by using various strategies. Kids get four strategies to solve multiplication problems, including traditional vertical formats and less traditional bead-grouping methods. A cute skateboarding character joins kids as they work through the problems, and a set of games is available so kids can apply what they’ve learned and earn points to build silly monsters. A parents’ section gives a detailed explanation of the app’s instructional approach, and a settings icon allows users to customize the learning experience. For example, users can choose from 15 languages, disable links to the Internet, disable the timer in the games, and set place-value limits on the numbers kids have to multiply.
DragonBox Elements (7+) is an exciting geometry game with more than 100 challenging puzzles. Kids learn the fundamental, as well as the more advanced, concepts related to shapes and geometric proofs. Kids can choose from two levels of difficulty, and the puzzles in both levels get increasingly harder to complete. By tapping, drawing, and dragging, kids solve puzzles and gather creatures to form an army and fight the enemy monster, Osgard. The puzzles are highly engaging, and the graphics are bright and colorful. This is a true example of game-based learning. It’s important to note that many of the puzzles can be quite difficult, and hints are not available. Parents may need to provide guidance to help kids avoid frustration.
Slice Fractions (8+) is an app designed to help kids learn about fractions. The game takes a unique approach that helps kids visualize parts of a whole, or equal shares, promoting a conceptual understanding of fractions. Kids will have fun while learning as they help a wooly mammoth cross the landscape. Kids have to slice and drop lava and ice in a way that either creates equal shares or produces the fractions shown on the screen. For example, if the fraction 1/4 is displayed, kids have to slice a piece of ice so one out of four equal parts drops to the ground and clears the path for the mammoth. As they progress through the game, kids earn fun hats for the mammoth and unlock new levels.
Project Noah (8+) is an app adaptation of an innovative website that allows you to submit nature photos to help with global research missions. You can submit photos of wildlife with labels or a request for others to suggest what species they are. Photos can be submitted independently, or you can join missions to submit specific requested photos and help to document species. Some of these missions support scientific research, such as the Lost Ladybug Project.
Life Science through Photography (6+)features dozens of annotated images that introduce key life science concepts. The thumbnail images on the homepage are presented in a way that makes it really easy to tap into specific subjects. Kids click on images of plants and animals, displaying many interesting facts. The information is useful and not overwhelming. There is a review quiz to check comprehension and additional quiz questions may be purchased in the app.
World of Goo (7+) lets children drag and drop living, squirming, talking globs of goo to build structures, bridges, cannonballs, zeppelins, and giant tongues! The millions of innocent goo balls that live in the beautiful World of Goo are curious to explore, but they don’t know that they are in a game, or that they are extremely delicious. This addicting and awe-inspiring Puzzle game will set you on an adventure that you’ll never forget!
Hopscotch (9+) is easy to use, but it’s also powerful. No typing. No syntax errors. Just drag and drop blocks. Hopscotch is an intuitive, friendly programming interface designed for everyone. Hopscotch can be used to learn fundamental programming concepts — sequencing, abstraction, values and conditionals.
The NASA app (5+) showcases a huge collection of the latest NASA content, including images, videos on-demand, NASA Television, mission information, news & feature stories, latest tweets, ISS sighting opportunities, satellite tracking, Third Rock Radio and much more.
Sky Map (5+) allows you to point your device at the sky and the Sky Map will tell you exactly what you are looking at. It’s great for those summer nights when you can stay up late and camp out under the stars.
Take a look at some of my previous app lists, 10 Great Visual Math Apps, Top 10 Math Apps for Young Children and 12 Best iPad Apps for Children for some more inspiration.
If your child needs a little help with reading, read STOP Brain Drain with Literacy Apps.