How I Use It
Skyscrapers by Tinybop is an iPad app I used in a small-group iPad center with second grade students. I used the accompanying teacher's guide to provide students with information about each system within a skyscraper over several days, as students explored each system. Students can choose a skyscraper type, then add building floors for living or for business. Tabs open the various building systems (electrical, plumbing, water) for students to explore. Students can change the variables in each system. The building responds to various changes, including wind, lightning, and ground density. This app is an exploration of structures and systems, and to make it tie into any learning objective will require planning and preparation by the teacher.
This app is very interesting and is a great tool for exploration on the structure and systems of large buildings. There are some quirky aspects to it: for example, the exploration of the plumbing system has characters using toilets (with farting sounds!) that plug up the system. These features can distract students from developing understanding.. Because of all the interesting things that each system can do, it takes quite a bit of exploration for students to develop specific understandings about the functioning of the systems. The best use of this app for young students might be as part of a makerspace center, where time/materials are provided for exploration.