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Britannica Kids: Solar System
Pros: Lots of information, engaging games, and gorgeous graphics are likely to get kids interested.
Cons: Missed opportunity to challenge kids with activities that promote critical thinking.
Bottom Line: Britannica Kids: Solar System is a good reference tool for supplementing a solar system unit.
If you want to supplement a unit about the solar system, then you will likely find Britannica Kids: Solar System very helpful. Show some of the videos to introduce the unit. As you work your way through the unit, have students read the articles and create an illustrated glossary of important terms. You can assign small groups of students to one of the planets and have them use the "Planets A-Z" feature to do research and create an illustrated poster. You can even assign the puzzles and games to kids who finish assignments early. Ask them to come up with game ideas of their own that might work well as an added feature of the app. If you need to cover Next Generation Science Standards, you can use the information about gravity and space to help kids develop a model that describes the role of gravity in the solar system (Standard M-ESS1-2.) Teachers should know that the Shop feature on the home screen gives users access to make online purchases.
Editor's Note: Britannica Kids: Solar System is no longer available.
Britannica Kids: Solar System is a handy science resource filled with information about the solar system. Kids choose what to do by spinning and tapping a wheel at the bottom of the home screen; the options are Articles, Planets A-Z, About, Brush-Off, Jigsaw Puzzles, Magic Square, Pics & Videos, Memory Match, Shopping, and Quiz. Each option has clear instructions when applicable and well-organized information. Key words are highlighted in the articles, and kids can tap them to learn their definitions. Quizzes are timed, and the memory match tracks how many attempts kids make to finish the game. Students can easily get hooked on improving their performance.
This app provides a lot of information and colorful graphics that will spark the interest of kids who want to learn about the solar system. Kids can read articles and watch videos to learn about the planets, the moon, the sun, asteroids, comets, gravity, and space history and exploration. There are tappable glossary terms within the articles, which can help kids build vocabulary skills. Jigsaw puzzles, a brush-off game, memory match, and magic square puzzles are fun and engaging for kids. However, other than the brush-off game, these activities do not directly support learning the content about the solar system. But, they do help kids improve observation and memory skills. Kids can assess what they learned by taking timed and scored quizzes. Kids get instant feedback, so they know right away what they got right and what they still need to work on. Most of the learning happens by reading the articles, so the app is best suited for kids who are visual learners and enjoy reading about the solar system. No text-to-audio features are offered.