Teacher Review For Toca Nature

Interesting introduction to nature, habitats and ecosystems with Toca Boca Nature

Donald P.
Classroom teacher
N.F. Woods Advanced Technology and Arts Center
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Arts
EdTech Mentor
My Rating 3
Learning Scores
Engagement 2
Pedagogy 2
Support 3
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Creation
Knowledge gain
Small group
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with ELL
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
Nature from Toca Boca is meant to be a peaceful quiet game that at the same time teaches about the natural world and animal habitats. There is no reading involved, just touch and play so it is great for ELL, Low literacy and special needs students. Build mountains, forests and lakes and watch as the animals arrive to their respective habitats. Teacher led lessons can talk about why certain animals live in their respective habitats. Students can zoom in and 'walk' through the forest gathering food for the animals and feeding it to them. Day and night cycles also happen within the game and shows students the difference between diurnal and nocturnal animals. Students can also take photos inside the app that can then be used for presentations or posters in other apps or printed out.
My Take
Toca Boca Nature is meant to be aa calm soothing app and because of this the 'education' factor within it is shallow. While it is great for teacher led lessons about habitats and ecosystems, students left on their own with this app are quickly bored and move on to other more 'entertaining' apps. We have used it to create unique 'photos' of animals and habitats to use as part of presentations. I have only used it with second and third grade students so it might be more engaging for younger students, but I'm afraid in today's world of 'flashy' apps, Toca Boca Nature does not have enough depth and substance to keep students entertained or to truly learn the nuances of habitats and ecosystems.