App review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2014
Sound Uncovered
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Sound Uncovered

Interactive science tool teaches with virtual experiments, exploration

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
3–12 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Science, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Fascinating facts about sound are integrated with fun interactive explorations.

Cons: Kids may be overwhelmed by the amount of information; a glossary of primary concepts and terms could help.

Bottom Line: Fascinating free science resource on sound would be a great addition to any virtual library.

You won't find a lot of basic information about sound, so the app is best suited as a supplemental or enrichment tool. Once they learn about sound waves and properties, arrange kids into small groups and assign them a topic. Have each group explore its topic and ask group members to write a summary of what they learn. Ask groups to share their summaries with the class. Assess learning by having groups write a brief quiz about their topic and challenge classmates to answer the questions. How well did they do? Is this an indicator of good summaries or good quiz writing? Kids can explore the rest of the topics at their own pace or as time allows.

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Sound Uncovered explores the fun of science. Kids start by choosing any topic from among the 15 listed in the table of contents. Most topics include an interactive experience followed by a "What's Going On?" article. For example, in Find the Highest Note, kids tap keys in a clockwise direction and try to identify the highest note. When they tap the question mark icon at the bottom of the screen, an illustrated article pops up that describes sound phenomena. 

Sound Uncovered is an interactive resource that teaches kids interesting facts about sound. They can learn about acoustic phenomena, auditory illusions, and how the human brain affects the way we process sound. Through virtual experimentation and detailed, illustrated explanations, kids explore beat waves, echolocation, sound engineers, dichotic melody, refraction of sound, and much more. The tool does a fantastic job of engaging kids and sparking interest by discussing fascinating facts and everyday examples that kids can relate to. Keep in mind that many of the topics are somewhat complex, so kids would benefit from background knowledge of the basic properties of sound. An interactive glossary would be a nice addition to help kids build vocabulary skills.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Interesting science facts are presented, and each page includes an engaging activity or exploration.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Kids learn through a combination of exploration, investigation, and reading text. Information is clearly presented and scientifically sound.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

No formal instructions are provided, but they aren't needed. The developer's website has lots of sound-related activities, webcasts, and videos.


Common Sense reviewer
Debbie Gorrell Educator

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