If you're teaching kids about Earth's biomes, particularly the desert or temperate forest, start the lesson by having kids explore the biomes in Plants by Tinybop with a partner or in small groups. Read the discussion questions aloud first so kids know what to think about as they explore. Then come together as a class and review the discussion questions. To extend the information about plants, invite each student to research and present a brief oral report about one plant found in the targeted biome.Continue reading Show less
Plants by Tinybop is an open-ended learning tool that encourages kids to explore at their own pace. Adults must set up user accounts in the dashboard, which is nice for sharing devices in the classroom. At the home screen, kids tap their user icon to get started. They can choose either the desert or the temperate forest. In each biome, kids tap and drag to explore plants and animals in their natural habitat. They can also plant seeds, make it rain, and spin a dial to observe daily cycles. Kids can drag a slider across the bottom of the screen to observe life beneath the soil. Colorful graphics and fun sound effects enhance the experience and make it engaging for kids of all ages.
Plants by Tinybop is an interactive diorama that takes kids on a virtual journey through two different biomes: desert and temperate forest. Kids can explore each biome and its plant and animal life by tapping or dragging interactive features. They can learn about plants, animals, seasons, and general weather conditions in the biomes. When kids tap a plant, they learn the name of the plant and explore some of its characteristics. For example, when kids tap the alfalfa plant in the desert biome, the name of the plant appears on the screen above a seed buried in soil. Kids can tap a cloud to make it rain and watch as the seed grows into an adult alfalfa plant. They can spin a dial to observe what happens from sunrise to sunset and how a biome changes with the seasons. Learning is very open-ended, and free exploration is the name of the game with this app, which works well for some kids. Many kids will need some guidance to get the most out of the learning experience, however. A free, downloadable handbook on the developer's website is an excellent resource. It includes more detailed information about the biomes and a series of discussion questions to share with kids.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.
Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
Earth and Human Activity
Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.
Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.