Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
Teachers can use GazziliScience to introduce new science topics. Then, explore the concept in more depth. Do real-life sink-or-float experiments with some of the same objects, plant seeds and care for the growing plants, take a sensory walk and practice using all five senses, and so on. Kids can use the app individually, in which case teachers may want to delete the app and re-install between kids so that each kid can build the contraption on their own. Or, with so much verbal narration, teachers can also project their device in class and go through the journeys as a class or in groups.
With ten different language options, many ELL kids can use this app in their native language. Once kids are familiar with the explanations, teachers may want these kids to listen in English to pick up familiar words and phrases.Continue reading Show less
In each of six interactive science journeys, kids hear narration that explains the concept and complete tasks that help make the explanation come alive. For example, to learn about the four seasons, kids hear about the Earth's orbit around the sun and then tap to move the rotating Earth. At each of four stops, the narrator describes the season, kids tap a tree to see what changes for that season, and they can tap a kid to give him weather-appropriate clothing. Other topics are: the water cycle, plants, living vs. non-living things, sink or float, the five senses. With each completed journey, kids move a new piece into a complicated pet-feeding contraption until all six pieces are in place and kids can watch it in action. The free download includes one journey -- planting -- with the rest available as an in-app purchase.
GazziliScience breaks some complex science topics down with explanations that are -- mostly -- kid-friendly. In one particularly clever game, kids experiment with sink vs. float by giving a little monster objects that help him move up and down through pipes of a sunken ship. It's also neat that this app is fully available in ten languages, which makes it great for multilingual or ELL families.
Small details get in the way of making this app truly spectacular, though. For example, the activities have a lot of verbal narration; some kids may be itching for more doing and less listening. And though many of the demonstrations are at preschool level, sometimes explanations seem out of place or overly complicated and wordy. It's a nice touch to include a hearing impaired option that provides text for all the narration, but kids young enough to use this app are unlikely to be reading yet. It would also be nice to see an overarching theme that ties together the six topics, which, as of now, seem disjointed. Yet, overall, GazziliScience does a good job of describing a few science concepts in an appealing and engaging way.
Key Standards Supported
Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
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