How I Use It
This is a fantastic app for elementary-aged students to experience the wonders of the human body. While it definitely could be utilized at a middle school level, its appearance and functionality lend themselves to an elementary age group. Students are able to engage in the many different systems of the body (nervous, skeletal, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, muscular and immune). Within each of the systems, students are able to dig deeper into the major organs. The real quality of the app comes from the interactivity within each of the organs. The students play with the different parts of the organs, experimenting with different variables to see how they affect the body, such as how gas collects in your stomach and is released as a burb, and the longer that bubble grows the longer the gas is released. Another example demonstrates how running increases heart rate and blood flow, seeing how the flow of blood changes.
It allows the students to interact with each different system and gain a deeper understanding of how the systems work and how outside variables affect them. To get the most out of the app it would be best used in combination with teacher’ lessons. The app itself is sparse on labels, although you can move around and match the labels that do exist)l. Their explanations may also present an issue if students attempt to engage without any adult guidance. Used in a small group setting while exploring each of the systems then providing discussion would be the best way to achieve a higher understanding of the human body when utilizing this high quality app.
As a teaching tool that supplements instruction and discussion, this is the tool to use in the upper elementary classroom. I wouldn’t recommend the app if you wanted something self directed,as it lends itself to discussion. Used as an extension to a small group or whole group lesson and discussion, this app will help tremendously. It enables the student to focus on the systems and organs as well as giving them hands on experience with each in a “cartoonish” way. This interaction helps make it easier for students that might have weak stomachs and may have a rough time dealing with real images. It also engages students in the effects of outside variables (as well as internal) like different foods, tactile stimulants, and virus and bacteria. Students can also label the differents parts of the systems and organs assisting in the understanding of where things are in your body. However, there is no explanation as to what the organs do. There is the ability to record audio notes within the application, which provides an effective assessment or it be used as a student's own science journal. The notes can’t be exported, but will be saved under the student's account. Speaking of the student account… On the home screen of the app there is a “+” and the student needs to create an account. This is just an “in app” account and isn’t linked to anything online. Students need to select their gender, a background color and name, and they will be ready to take advantage of the app. Each time they return to the app that account will be saved as will any audio notes that have been recorded.
My overall impression of the app is good, and if you were going to use it to help guide instruction, then I would recommend it because it carries the $3.99 price tag. It’s not one for simple “sit and get”.