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Though teachers could let kids freely explore these virtual weather systems on their own, kids will get a lot more out of their experience if teachers provide substantial input as well. Teachers can use the handbook as a guide to introduce the phenomena represented in the app. Then, let kids experiment with how the sun and air temperature affect land, water, and our behavior and comfort level.
Set up a separate user account for each kid to give them a sense of empowerment over their own world. Have kids make predictions, then change wind and air currents and see how that affects the weather. Look at the water cycle and clouds and introduce vocabulary terms such as "precipitation," "evaporation," and "condensation." Make sure kids have the label feature turned on to see the weather-related terms. Then, help make the connection to the real world: Have kids report on what happened in the app after manipulating things and what it's like to experience different weather in real life. Go on a cloud-hunting mission and talk about what kinds of clouds they are. Take out ice cubes, or have kids look in the bathroom after a hot shower to experiment with water through evaporation, freezing, condensation, and more.Continue reading Show less
Weather by Tinybop is part of a series of exploration-based apps that delve into science and engineering topics. Kids tap and drag their way through a variety of weather systems and explore clouds, temperature, cyclones, precipitation, and more. With no guide or explanation, kids freely experiment making snowflakes, playing with heat and airflow, and creating storms. Each section has some close-up views of things like water molecules in the air or snowflakes forming from ice crystals.
Kids can turn labels on in the settings menu to get a bit of an idea of what they're looking at. Teachers can download a handbook online or in the app for a detailed guide of the themes the app explores. You can also choose from a long list of languages including Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, and many more. To reach the settings menu, however, teachers will need to provide an email address.
Kids freely, and safely, explore and experiment in a fun virtual world full of rain, storms, snow, and extreme weather. This purposeful open-ended approach is great for letting kids take the lead, but Weather by Tinybop's lack of guidance -- which is intentional -- also runs the risk of leaving kids lost and confused. The handbook can help, and for this, teachers need to get intimately involved in working together with kids to discover and explain the complicated phenomena represented in the app.
Without support, kids could have fun drawing clouds or blowing houses away in a cyclone, but they may not take away much meaningful learning. Since a good number of the graphics are confusing as to what they represent -- especially the close-up looks -- turning on the labels can be a big help. Those who are familiar with other Tinybop apps will recognize the navigation features since they're consistent across titles; those who aren't might feel a bit lost. Overall, paired with solid offline support, Weather by Tinybop can be a fun and empowering way for kids to dig deeply into the science behind weather.
Key Standards Supported
Obtain information to identify where water is found on Earth and that it can be solid or liquid.
Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.