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Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2014

Curiosity School - Stem Series

Seven cool science experiments, but limited content and interactivity

Subjects & skills
  • Science

  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: The videos do a good job of explaining and demonstrating cool science experiments.

Cons: There's very little interactivity, and the post-experiment questions miss an opportunity to fully assess understanding.

Bottom Line: Free app offers a nice collection of videos that show how to conduct cool science experiments, but don't expect much beyond that.

You could use Curiosity School - Stem Series to get kids excited about an upcoming science fair. Show kids some of the videos, and then discuss possible variations of the experiments that kids might use as a science fair project. If you decide to have kids conduct the experiments themselves, you'll need to plan ahead and get the appropriate materials. The Water Wheel, Electromagnetism, and Solar Oven experiments focus on energy and forces, the Ghost Balloon and Carbon Drain two-part experiment focus on chemical reactions, the Automatic Sorting experiment focuses on Earth's soil, and the Homemade Thermometer experiment could be used to supplement a weather unit.

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Curiosity School - Stem Series introduces kids to seven experiments, each of which includes a materials list and a brief demonstration video. In the Water Wheel experiment, kids learn how to build a water wheel model using paper plates and an egg carton. The two-part experiment Ghost Balloon and Carbon Drain teaches kids about chemical reactions and the effect of carbon dioxide. In other experiments, kids learn how to build a solar oven, a homemade thermometer, and an electromagnet -- all using common household objects. After watching each video, kids can answer four multiple-choice questions related to the experiment. At the time of this review, some of the on-screen text was either missing or broken into fragments.

Kids can learn some background scientific information and how to set up the experiments, but none of the videos are very content-rich. Furthermore, the follow-up questions lack depth and feedback. The experiments are cool and simple enough to be duplicated, and kids will likely enjoy watching the videos. However, the app lacks interactivity and falls short on content. Most learning will occur as a result of kids doing the experiments on their own.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The experiment videos are interesting and may get kids excited to try them, but the only direct interaction with the app involves answering some post-experiment questions.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Videos discuss some good scientific content. And the experiments, if kids do them, reinforce learning. However, the follow-up questions are sparse, lack depth, and don't provide constructive feedback or explanations.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

It's easy to navigate, and the experimental procedures are clearly explained.

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