Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2015
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MarcoPolo Weather

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Adorable sandbox tool lets kids safely explore, experiment, observe

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: Kids can freely explore weather with adorable characters that react to changes in conditions like temperature, wind speed, and more.

Cons: Progress can't be saved or tracked.

Bottom Line: A fun, cheerful way for kids to explore weather while appropriately touching on more serious issues like safety.

In the classroom, MarcoPolo Weather is a great tool to use as part of a learning center. Allow kids to freely explore and follow up with a class discussion of their observations. Create a word wall of vocabulary that kids learn. The parent section has excellent ideas for extension activities that can be used as part of a weather unit: For example, have kids keep a journal of local weather conditions for several weeks.

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MarcoPolo Weather is a digital sandbox tool that emphasizes exploration and open play. Kids tap a play button to enter the main screen, which includes an avatar and animated animals in an outdoor forest scene. Kids can select one of the nine weather conditions or tap to adjust the temperature and/or wind speed. They can drag interactive objects onto the scene, including clothing and accessories, two other avatars, fruits, flowers, vegetables, a tent, snowballs, and more. They can also change the display from day to night.

Through free play and exploration, kids can manipulate temperature and wind conditions and create weather scenes with nine different weather conditions: sunny, partly cloudy, cloudy, rain, thunderstorm, snow, blizzard, tornado, and hurricane. Each condition includes a narrated description and allows kids to observe how the condition affects their avatar and the environment. For example, when kids choose the tornado, they learn its pronunciation and its definition. A siren goes off, the avatar jumps into an underground safety area, and as the tornado sweeps across the screen, leaves blow around and the ground gets torn up. A parent section includes a description of the app and settings, as well as extension activities related to weather.

Colorful characters, fun sound effects, and lots of interactivity will engage and delight young learners. Kids can learn how weather conditions affect the environment while building key science vocabulary. There's tons to explore and lots to learn, and there's a great mix of explicit instruction and kid-directed exploration. More features to track students' progress -- or even just systematically review what they've learned -- would improve an already-great experience. Overall, MarcoPolo Weather is a fun, fascinating way for kids to explore an important science topic.

Overall Rating

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

The colorful graphics, fun sound effects and music, and the ability to observe the effects of weather conditions will keep kids engaged and empowered to explore freely.

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

Kids can directly observe how changes in weather affect the environment. The narration helps kids build key science vocabulary.

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

The parent section provides detailed descriptions of most of the interactive objects and offers excellent ideas for extension activities. Multiple languages are available.

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Meghan J. ,
Holy Mary Catholic School
Vancouver, United States
I as a teacher do not advise for any child of any age to use this aplication because it screams out the Devil's (saitan) vows and cuss words
It can teach children that cussing and the devils vows are bad
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