Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2014
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Physics: The Standard Model

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Solid physics resource; lacks interactivity and assessment features

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Science
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
11-12
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4 images

Pros: Does a good job of explaining concepts and organizing difficult information about particle physics into bite-sized pieces.

Cons: Kids do a lot of reading and not much else.

Bottom Line: Short on fun and interactivity, the app is a handy reference tool that provides a good overview of particle physics.

Physics: The Standard Model could be useful as a classroom reference tool for an advanced physics course. As kids learn about the Standard Model of Particle Physics, have them refer to the appropriate sections of the app. Or, as reinforcement, assign small groups to a class of particles (quarks, bosons, or leptons) and have them use the reference tool to conduct research and write a summary of the particles' characteristics and history. The cheat sheet is particularly helpful for studying before an exam. 

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Although Physics: The Standard Model covers difficult content, the information is very well organized and easy to navigate. At the home screen, kids tap the Standard Model diagram to learn the basics about the 17 different particles that are part of the model. From a tappable menu along the top of the home screen, kids can access an introduction page, images, a dictionary, and a cheat sheet. On the introduction page, kids read a brief summary of the Standard Model of Particle Physics and get an overview of leptons, quarks, and bosons. The images page includes an image of the Standard Model diagram with detailed labels, a diagram of the four forces that affect the Standard Model, and a diagram of the fermions. The dictionary includes several relevant terms and their definitions, and the cheat sheet is a handy study tool that summarizes the characteristics of particles. 

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Kids get a thorough overview of particle physics as they learn about The Standard Model and the interactions of different quarks, bosons, and leptons. For each of the 17 particles in the model, they learn about the particle's mass, charge, symbol, spin, applicable forces on the particle, discovering scientist, mean lifetime, and more. As far as references go, the app is quite handy and is more than suitable as a study tool. The concepts are very advanced, however, and they aren't explained in depth, so to make good use of the information, kids should have some prior knowledge of particle physics. It would also be useful if kids had a way to assess their learning. 

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Overall Rating

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

Interactivity is limited -- kids simply tap and read. Graphics are basic, yet effective. 

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

Diagrams, a dictionary, and a cheat sheet help make the challenging subject of particle physics a bit easier to digest and comprehend. An assessment tool could boost the learning experience. 

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

Content is well organized and clearly explained. Lacks extension activities and a supporting website. 


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