App review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2015
DIY Human Body
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DIY Human Body

Inspire curiosity with hands-on learning and engaging video lessons

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Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
3–5 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.
Subjects & Skills
Science, Health & Wellness, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Tons of cool videos and activities engage and support learning.

Cons: Limited detail about the structure and function of each body system, and only five systems are covered.

Bottom Line: An excellent free resource to use as an introduction to the human body systems or as an instructional support tool, but look elsewhere for greater detail.

In the classroom, DIY Human Body could be fun when used as a supplemental resource throughout a unit about the human body. Introduce a body system by having kids read the summary and study the diagram in the Body Systems section of the app. After kids learn more through classroom instruction, have them work in small groups to view a video and write a 3-2-1 summary: three things they learned while viewing the video, two things they found most interesting, and one thing they still have a question about. Discuss their summaries as a class. Use one or more of the activities as a lab exercise.

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DIY Human Body is a free science resource that teaches kids about human body systems. Kids can explore three different areas within the app: Body Systems, Activities, or Videos. There are 17 videos lessons that cover interesting and relevant topics. There are also 13 hands-on activities, and each one is organized into sections that make it easy to plan and conduct the activity. The Summary section gives an overview of the activity's objective, age level appropriateness, and a breakdown of the time required for preparation, activity completion, and clean-up. The Materials section includes a bulleted materials list and any applicable safety precautions. The Instructions section includes step-by-step instructions, along with pictures that illustrate how to do each step. And the Explanation section explains the science behind the activity. Activities can be downloaded and printed as PDF documents, which is handy for use in the classroom. They can also be emailed, which is a great way to send kids home-based assignments.

It would be great if the diagrams were interactive, but the activities and videos inspire kids' curiosity and give kids a chance to learn the basics of the human body in an age-appropriate setting. Most of the activities require adult supervision, so if you assign any as homework, be sure to communicate with parents and other caretakers.

As it is, the content is not rich enough to stand alone as an instructional tool, but the app is a great supplemental resource. Kids can learn about the circulatory, digestive, immune, skeletal, and respiratory systems. The activities provide kids with a fun, hands-on learning experience, and the follow-up explanations talk about the science behind the activities. By reading the brief summaries, completing the activities, and watching the videos, kids can learn about the basic structure and function of important body systems, as well as related topics like bone fractures and reducing the spread of germs. Formal assessments are not included, so kids will need some sort of outside assessment to gauge their progress.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

The videos cover interesting real-world topics and are age-appropriate. The activities will fully engage kids in the learning experience, but they require some teacher legwork.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Most of what kids learn directly from the app is based on memorization. The explanations that follow each activity do an excellent job of reinforcing concepts and tying everything together.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Navigation is easy, and information is clearly presented. Activities can be downloaded, printed, and emailed. Adding audio instructions would help kids with different learning styles.


Common Sense reviewer
Debbie Gorrell Educator

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