Common Sense Review
Updated June 2012

Sid's Science Fair

Good interactive way for young kids to learn and practice science
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • Three science-fair-themed activities have recognizable characters.
  • Beautiful collections of everyday objects help kids find details.
  • Look for the requested detail with a magnifying glass.
  • Chart bugs by color, size, and more.
  • Place pictures in sequential order.
Pros
The science-fair setting puts kids at the heart of practical applications of science concepts and vocabulary.
Cons
With only three main activities, kids may not come back.
Bottom Line
Easy-to-use, fun activities help young kids learn science and math concepts in gentle and effective ways.
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

Characters call students "scientists," immediately engage them in the activities and reminding them that science is for everyone.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Interactive learning through three educational activities. Kids are prompted to find, identify, or organize objects, and they hear science vocabulary spoken, which includes detailed definitions.

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 recognizable, kind characters guide kids through each activity. Clear icons show how to navigate the app's pages, including a "?" icon for more information.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

The activities on Sid's Science Fair can be excellent supplements to introductory lessons on identifying characteristics, organizing a timeline, and compiling information. In a classroom-wide lesson, with small groups, or with individual students, teachers can enlist Sid to explain math-related science concepts like data and charts. You may also want to use this app to help pre-K or kindergarteners get involved in a school science fair. If older kids are hosting a science fair they'll visit as spectators, Sid's Science Fair is a great way for them to learn vocabulary and play around with the science fair concept before visiting a real one. Best of all, kids are called "scientists" throughout, sending a positive and inclusive message.

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What's It Like?

Sid's Science Fair is an excellent and experiential science-and-math learning app that can interest kids in science through three, fair-based activities. As Sid and his friends explain their exhibits and invite kids to play with the contents and concepts, kids can learn about classifying objects by color, size, and more; identifying patterns; charting data (in a simple, age-appropriate way); and sequencing. They can get a bit of counting practice, too, and the app explains some science-related vocabulary words very clearly ("What's data? When you count things and then put them on a chart, you're collecting data. Touch a piece of data to collect it"). It also encourages kids to apply the words they've just learned.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Sid's Science Fair's strengths are its use of well-known, engaging TV characters and activities in a well-designed, colorful setting. The vocabulary and concepts students learn – for example, noticing small details, sorting, and charting -- can be applied in both the classroom and in everyday life. One improvement would be to give kids a card that's "stamped" when they master an exhibit, or something similar to track progress. It might also be nice to periodically add even more activities, as well as some organized, step-by-step ideas for teachers on related extension activities for the classroom.

Of the three activities on Sid's Science Fair, the standout is probably Gerald's Time Machine, wherein kids practice sequencing time-lapse photography with science-related images (melting ice, a geyser, decomposing fruit, and more). After kids organize the photos, they get the reward of moving a cursor across the screen to view the object's change. Sid's Science Fair is concrete, multifaceted, learning fun.

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See how teachers are using Sid's Science Fair