Common Sense Review
Updated May 2012

NASA App

Visually super NASA-backed treasure trove may overwhelm
Common Sense Rating 4
  • Main page contains interactive solar system, featured categories, and more.
  • Current images of views of Earth from outer space.
  • Learn what astronauts and other NASA staff do in their daily work.
  • Visually stunning images of space dominate NASA App.
Pros
The images are incredible, and daily updates keep things fresh.
Cons
Tons of information, but a lack of direction may overhwhelm some kids.
Bottom Line
A visually stunning way to get kids interested in science and space exploration.
Dana Villamagna
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Visual images will pull many kids in and encourage them to find out more through the other content on the site. New photos, videos, and tweets are added constantly.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Younger kids may need help reading and understanding the excellent, in-depth space-related content on this site, but older kids should be able to readily understand most of the information presented.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

The large amount of information and options may require an adult to guide kids toward the content most relevant to them. There's no real tutorial or overview that presents the options in an organized way.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

NASA App has so much information that it may require your guidance to help kids find the most relevant information to their current course of study, report topic, or current event. Search the app by keyword, feature, or category.

Otherwise, for students interested in general space and NASA information, simply suggest tapping on whatever image or category interests them and see where it leads. New information every day creates a constantly updated stream of images and content, so it's worth checking back in to see if something fresh has popped up that might fit right into your curriculum.

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What's It Like?

Nasa App is a place where kids can learn basic astronomy facts, and about NASA's specific missions, by navigating through videos, photos, live feeds, and loads of text. New information is added daily from a variety of NASA sources, including NASA's public television channel. Students can select a NASA image of the day or an astronomy picture of the day to view, or search information by date, keyword, or seven different categories, which run along the bottom of the main screen. Users can log in via Facebook Connect to share information, but this is optional. There's also a built-in Twitter feed, but you don't need an account to follow NASA tweets.

The app reinforces topics by presenting the information in different ways, including text, videos, photos, and social media. Tap on a planet in the main screen's solar system, and a detailed overview of the planet with images, facts and figures, and a long explainer appears. NASA App also has a news feature so students can stay on top of current space exploration events and information.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Gorgeous digital representations of the solar system, videos of rocket launches, new images of Earth taken from the International Space Station, and much more are likely to spark interest in space exploration in ways that written explanations or old textbook graphics simply can't. For a free resource, it's got a lot going on! The most impressive elements on this app are, by far, the stunning visuals, with more than 150,000 and still more added daily. Science-minded kids should love poking around the app, but it could be a little dry for younger ones. Another potential challenge: While NASA App provides an abundance of facts about space exploration, there may be almost too much info with too little direction for some kids.

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See how teachers are using NASA App

Lesson Plans