It would fit beautifully into a lesson on astronomy or space exploration. Project the high-quality images and take students on a tour of the solar system. Kids can access information about planets, major moons, and a few spacecraft, which would make it a great resource for independent or small group research. The calendar feature lets kids see planetary alignment at any time, night or day.Continue reading Show less
Solar System Explorer is a planetarium-quality, high-definition app whose 3D images let kids experience our solar system up close. Starting with an overall view of the entire solar system, kids pinch to zoom and examine planets more closely, rotate to view the planetary rotation from different perspectives, or tap a specific planet to see it up close and in detail. When the whole solar system is on-screen, each planet, major moons, and a few spacecraft are displayed as small icons at the bottom. Kids can click any of these for a closer image. Choosing a planet brings up small icons for each of that planet's moons. Kids can click the “I” (info) button for any object –- planet, moon, or spacecraft –- for more information about it. Tap the calendar icon at the top of the screen and enter a specific date –- today, past, or future –- and see the planetary alignment on that day. Then choose how fast the time progression moves (on the clock), showing how the planets rotate.
Short descriptions are peppered with interesting facts (like the fact that one of Saturn's moons, Mimas, has an enormous crater that makes it look like the Death Star from Star Wars –- even though detailed images of the moon showing the crater weren't available when the movies were made). Whoa.
Kids will learn about the solar system –- all the planets (plus Pluto) and the major moons –- as well as some spacecraft that have explored our solar system. A moving image of the entire solar system or individual planets demonstrates the rotation around the sun at specific dates (past, future, and today).
Examining all the quality photos, kids will truly feel like they're in space. This is a well-produced app that will fascinate kids even remotely interested in space and provide plenty of facts to those who just need information. Students will discover knowledge on their own by exploring, and teachers will find this rich resource a valuable instructional asset.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures 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.
Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2–3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
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.
Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.
Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.
Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.
Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.
Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.
Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).
Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 4–5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6–8 texts and topics.
Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic.
Analyze the author’s purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text.
Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text.
Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Key Standards Supported
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.