App review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2015
Meet Science: Force And Motion
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Meet Science: Force and Motion

Amusing mini-games, solid quizzes boost physics understanding

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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, Critical Thinking

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Pros: A variety of teaching strategies promote learning, reinforcement, and assessment.

Cons: Quizzes at the end of the lessons are short, and there are only three mini-games to choose from.

Bottom Line: A great collection of resources to help kids understand force and motion concepts.

In the classroom, Meet Science: Force and Motion could work well as an instructional support tool. At the start of class, choose a lesson that relates to what kids are learning. Have kids read the lesson and take the quiz in pairs. Review the material and watch the experiment videos as a class. Have kids make predictions about the experiments when prompted by the videos. If possible, have kids conduct the experiments in small groups. Use the mini-games as a reward or as a practice tool before an assessment.

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Meet Science: Force and Motion features lessons, mini-games, and experiments that kids can use to learn about forces and motion. There's also an illustrated glossary for reference. Quirky characters guide kids through the lessons, making science more approachable for young learners. Each lesson includes a brief quiz and suggestions for experiments to extend the lesson. Kids can play mini-games or take timed quizzes to test their knowledge. There's also a Parent Zone that takes users to a listing of other apps for sale, but a multiplication problem must be solved to access this area. The app is available for purchase in English only.

The four exploration areas are Learn, Experiments, Glossary, and Mini Games. In Learn, kids can choose from six different lessons that cover topics with both text and voice-over speech. Each lesson page includes an animation that supports learning. A lesson ends with a brief quiz and links to experiment videos that relate to the lesson. In Experiments, kids can directly access the experiments that appear at the end of the lessons. The experiments are fairly simple, but some require materials such as spring balances that might be hard to find, so planning ahead is essential. In Glossary, kids can tap to read and hear definitions. The glossary has a tab labeled "Aha," which contains a five-chapter dictionary that connects force and motion science with everyday phenomena. In Mini Games, kids can choose from three different games that challenge them to apply what they learned. Top scores are tracked and easily accessible.

Kids can learn by reading, watching animations, playing games, and conducting experiments. The app covers a variety of fundamental topics, including concepts related to Newton's laws of motion -- although in this resource, they are referred to as Newton's three "principles of motion." Specific concepts include frame of reference, balanced and unbalanced forces, displacement, speed, inertia, gravity, friction, action and reaction forces, and more. The lessons are organized by topic, and they're presented using on-screen text as well as audio. Some of the lessons are text-heavy, but simple and colorful animations help break up the text and keep kids engaged. Kids can assess their understanding by taking a brief quiz at the end of each lesson or a longer quiz that covers all of the lessons. Kids can also conduct hands-on experiments that reinforce concepts from the lesson. However, be prepared to do a lot of the preparation, and make sure you review the results summary for each experiment. You'll likely need to add further explanations, since the summaries are rather short. The mini-games let kids explore magnitude and direction of forces, speed, and inertia, and a well-done illustrated glossary helps kids build science vocabulary.

Overall, this is a useful resource with a variety of strategies for teaching kids about fundamental science concepts, and the addition of a few more games and improved quiz questions would make it even better. The lessons contain age-appropriate content, and the supporting graphics do an excellent job of illustrating concepts. The quizzes that follow each lesson are good practice for kids. However, there are only three quiz questions, some of the wording is awkward, and scores cannot be saved. The experiments include a materials list, instructions for setup, an opportunity for kids to make predictions, and a summary of the results. Some experiments would benefit from additional guidance regarding setup and analysis of results, and some of the grammar is incorrect. The mini-games target concepts from the lessons, giving kids an opportunity to apply what they've learned.

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?

Quirky characters and animations engage kids, and the variety of teaching strategies keeps them interested.

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?

Kids have many opportunities to apply what they learned in the lessons. Improving the experimental results summaries and quiz questions could boost learning.

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?

Quizzes have feedback for incorrect answers, and results can be saved. The developer's website has a tutorial video and a news blog. An instruction screen could help some kids get started.


Common Sense reviewer
Debbie Gorrell Educator

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