App review by Pamela Brittain, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2021
Tales Of The Tardigrade
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Tales of the Tardigrade

Science-themed serial stories lack supports, fall short

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Grades
4–8
Subjects & Skills
Science, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Fascinating facts and interactive elements are varied and add a nice additional layer; good variety of story styles.

Cons: Chapters are extremely short; no additional supports for content; some elements are dated.

Bottom Line: This unique approach to science concepts needs more content and supports.

The stories in Tales of the Tardigrade could be used as a starting point for discussions on various topics, but the information provided in each chapter is quite minimal, and far greater research is needed outside of the stories for any meaningful discussions. However, the variety of the stories provided (six in total) does help to reach students with different interests.

Each story is written in a slightly different manner and could be used as inspiration for students, to provide them with ideas on how to write creative stories on science topics. Have students use the stories as a jumping-off point to write a science serial of their own: How can they infuse scientific information into a narrative? 

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Tales of the Tardigrade is a collection of six short stories on a number of different science concepts. Some are broad, like climate change, and others are very specific, like the tardigrade. The stories are released one chapter per day, with seven chapters total. The stories include a number of different interactive elements, such as touching different parts of the screen to get further information, or navigating through various screens of information. Note: There's no privacy policy at the time of this review.

Tales of the Tardigrade is a truly unique approach to science, but it doesn't quite work as it stands. The stories are interesting, but the chapters are so short that they may not work well to really engage student interest and get them excited about a topic. The chapters are very short (mostly what can fit on a single phone screen and perhaps some pop-ups), meaning that they don't hold student attention for more than a minute or two. This might make it more difficult to really get students excited about the topic and willing to do more research on it. The slow release of chapters might also be a bit frustrating for students and could prompt them to not follow through on the stories. Also, the interface is somewhat dated, and some elements students may be familiar with -- like swiping to move -- are missing. With more supports, updates, and content, this cool idea could be a solid classroom tool.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Short snippets of stories may not quite be enough to hold student interest until the next installment, which comes a day later. 

Pedagogy

While the interactive elements do add a nice layer of engagement to the stories, the tidbits of information are not really enough to build a solid discussion without a lot more research.

Support

The built-in hints are helpful and guide the students on how to interact with the stories, but no additional content is provided. 


Common Sense reviewer
Pamela Brittain Researcher

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